Manchester United legend and one of the Premier League’s first ‘superstars’ Eric Cantona, first graced the English game for Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds United, before a glittering five year spell under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
However, things might have been so different Cantona, who it has sensationally been claimed could’ve joined the Red Devils biggest rivals Liverpool and Arsenal instead.
The French forward left Elland Road in 1992 after just one season, and Wilkinson, speaking in an interview via Express, claims that the kung-fu kicking striker ‘disappeared’ back to France, after being told that he was not to be included for an away trip.
“I left him out of an away match against Queens Park Rangers and that didn’t go down too well. As soon as I told him he disappeared and went back to France.” Wilkinson recalled.
This decision ultimately led Cantona to hand in his transfer request, with an apparent preference to join one of England’s biggest clubs.
“We got a transfer request a week later that said he wanted to go to Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal.
“It was out there on the football radar. We couldn’t hide the fact that he was in the squad for the QPR game and then on the Saturday lunchtime he’d gone.
“When he’s not at training on the Monday, you can’t keep it quiet. People knew he’d disappeared and that there had been a problem.
“At the time we had to make a decision and there were no other offers. You can only get what you are offered.
“There was no argument over the fee, just a question of do we sell or don’t we?”
While Liverpool and Arsenal either passed on the opportunity or didn’t act quickly enough, Cantona’s request alerted Sir Alex Ferguson and United…and the rest is simply glorious history.
The philosophical striker won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups during the half-decade at the Theatre of Dreams, and will forever be regarded as one of the greatest ever professionals to have worn the coveted red Manchester United jersey.
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