“Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”
The January transfer window is nearly over and a host of potential deals will only materialize once again after talks broke down.
Often the money serves as the explanation for a failed transfer, with clubs not agreeing on fees or the player feeling their demands are not being met.
But sometimes the real reason why Diego Maradona never ended up at Brammal Lane is much more complex.
Here, talkSPORT.com takes a look at the weirdest examples of why some deals never went over the limit…
In 1995, Blackburn Rovers were on the crest of a wave, with owner Jack Walker’s dream come true.
Rovers beat Manchester United for the title and a bright future looked to be ahead of them with Zinedine Zidane on Kenny Dalglish’s wishlist.
Zizou was impressing in France with Bordeaux and was emerging on the international scene when Blackburn stepped in.
Christophe Dugarry was also part of a potential deal for the Ewood Park outfit as they look to complete Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton.
Blackburn owner Walker had other ideas, however, and despite the pair traveling to the club for talks, they were never signed.
‘Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?’ is what Walker reportedly said about the transfer.
Zidane and Dugarry spent another campaign with Bordeaux before joining Juventus and AC Milan respectively.
Virgil van Dijk
Neil Warnock almost signed the centre-back from Liverpool only for Crystal Palace to end a deal due to fears he lacked pace.
The Middlesbrough boss wanted to bring Van Dijk to Selhurst Park from Celtic in 2014 but the deal was stalled.
“Van Dijk – I’m delighted he’s playing the way he is,” Warnock said.
“We could have bought him from Palace for £6m but my head scout told me he was too slow. I think he still has a job too!
The Chelsea great had been on trial at Burnley as a teenager after impressing for Ghana at the Under-17 World Cup.
But the Lancashire club backed out of signing him after refusing to change their policy of paying more than £60 a week for an apprentice.
In 2009, former Burnley chairman Brendan Flood said in The People: “I found out that Michael Essien had been on trial here for a few days.
“One of the best players at the World Cup – and we didn’t sign him.
“Club policy meant that we would not pay an apprentice more than £60 a week.
“It hit me in the face that the problem was a lack of communication within the club which prevented our youngsters from making an exception to the rule.”
The Spaniard was a top midfielder, who spent most of his career at Barcelona, and was even more illustrious as a manager.
Guardiola dominated the Premier League as a manager, but English football could never appreciate him as a player, but not for lack of trying.
Paul Jewell tried to lure him to Wigan in his mid-30s while Stuart Pearce also wanted him at Man City but the Spaniard was deemed too old.
Speaking in 2018, he revealed the Latics’ attempts, but said: “I wasn’t good enough!
“It’s the truth. I was old, really old as a footballer. I knocked on the door, I tried to come here to play in English football as a player but I didn’t could.
“The same thing happened here at Manchester City when I came here with Stuart Pearce. They were so smart! I wasn’t good enough.
Poland’s captaincy career could have been very different if the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland had never erupted.
Blackburn struck a deal again to sign the Bayern Munich sensation 11 years ago as he was making a name for himself at Lech Poznan.
“I went with my head scout Martyn Glover and it was quite a trip,” Allardyce, then Blackburn boss, told talkSPORT.
“We were very impressed with the player, the president agreed a deal of around €8m with the club and he had to fly.
“The ash cloud started in Iceland and all flights were canceled so he was unable to board.
“We were waiting for him at Manchester airport and then a week or two later he signed for Borussia Dortmund.
“I didn’t remember it until I read an article and Lewandowski brought it up. It just reminded me how close we were to one of the best scorers in the world.
The Arsenal striker scored a hat-trick against West Brom in August and just so happens to have almost ended up hitting them for the Baggies.
Stuart White, a former club scout, recommended Aubameyang to the Midlanders in 2011 after impressing for Saint-Etienne.
“I had gone to Dijon on a Friday night to watch one player in particular, a centre-forward who didn’t impress me at all,” White told Planet Football.
“My ‘bonus game’ before returning home on Sunday was Auxerre against Saint-Etienne on Saturday evening.
“Saint-Etienne drew 2-2, but Aubameyang and Emmanuel Rivière were great as a duo.
“I came back delighted from Aubameyang, and luckily his agent called me the following week, probably because he found out I had been to the game.
“He was obviously calling many clubs, but the boy was then a Milan player on loan at Saint-Etienne and he was interested in coming to England.
“The framework contract was explained to me and it was clear that it was going to be affordable, so I recommended that we pursue it.
“On the back of my shouting, a few more of our scouts came out to watch him a week or two later and he scored an early goal against Sochaux in a 2-1 loss but didn’t impress enough on the night. , which can happen.
“He then returned to Saint-Etienne, scored 21 for 45 and was then sold to Dortmund for 13 million euros. He would have been loaned to us for free with a two million euro fee linked to the agreement if we took it.
Shevchenko himself publicly denied ever having a trial at West Ham, but Harry Redknapp claimed he rejected it when in charge.
Redknapp said in 1999: “I was offered him about four years ago when he was only 19.
“We invited him to train for three or four days and I remember seeing him play for us in a game against Barnet’s reserves at Chadwell Heath.
“He didn’t pull up any trees, but he looked pretty decent. But that was right after having all these problems with the Romanian guys and I thought the last thing I needed was a Ukrainian.
“Also they were asking around £1million for him and I didn’t have the money at the time.”
He was at his best when playing for the national team and at Napoli, taking the club from a little-known Italian side to two Serie A titles.
But it could have been Sheffield United who reaped the benefits of Maradona’s magic, as they came so close to signing him in 1978.
The Blades, a Second Division side at the time, flew with representatives from Tottenham on a scouting mission to see what talent they could find in the South American nation, claims Yorkshire Live.
Then-United boss Harry Haslam and director John Hassle joined Spurs counterpart Keith Burkinshaw and his group on a flight to Buenos Aires.
United already had deals in place for Alejandro Sabella and Pedro Verde, but after watching Maradona in training, Haslam was reportedly ‘hypnotised’ by Maradona and quickly said: ‘I’ll take him, how much?’
A £150,000 deal was agreed between the Blades and Argentinos Juniors but the transfer fell apart following an unlikely interference that night.
Haslam was reportedly greeted at his hotel room door by members of Argentina’s notorious military police, a right-wing coup that toppled the former president.
The junta were happy to let Maradona leave the country, but only if Sheffield United paid them £150,000 on top of what they were already going to pay Argentinos Juniors.
United were still willing to shell out for the 17-year-old, but they weren’t comfortable making the deal political and the decision was overturned.
The Argentine’s incredible career at Barcelona was nearly wiped out by one of the boldest loan deals ever, courtesy of the obsessive Football Manager son of Alex McLeish.
“My son Jon was in Championship Manager,” he explained to The big interview.
“He constantly gave me names in South America. They come out of the sky and say ‘Lionel Messi is going to be the best player in the world’.
“You dismiss it, but Rangers were downsizing and we were looking for quality in midfield.
“Barry Ferguson had gone down to Blackburn so we lost a guy who would have taken the ball at any stadium in the world. We needed players of that ilk again.
“Jan Wouters phoned Henk ten Cate, who was assistant to ex-Dutch international Frank Rijkaard.
“Jan phoned him and said, ‘Messi?’ We were told there was no chance.