Manchester United have housed countless legends in their roster over the years. Stints long and short alike have been gifted to equally gifted strikers like Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez. Old Trafford is now the kind of destination that players alike find hard to turn down, and Ed Woodward seldom finds it difficult to attract talent to the club.
However, this hasn’t always been the case. Years ago, when Gabriel Batistuta was running rampant and scoring goals for Fiorentina, Manchester United sought to perhaps sign him, with Sir Alex Ferguson wishing to bring in the striker, who at the time, was hailed as amongst the best in the world.
But believe it or not, the Red Devils couldn’t afford the player, specifically his wages, which would have sent their existing structure into turmoil.
Speaking of this bizarre saga, former club chairman Martin Edwards has revealed (via NBC Sports): “Ferguson was keen to sign Batistuta. We looked at the situation, but at that time, the wages Batistuta wanted, and of course, we’re talking net.”
Edwards, remarking that the English giants couldn’t have sustained their normal wages if they had signed the Argentine, continued: “I can’t remember the figures now, (but) they would have jeopardized our wage structure at the club at the time, and therefore turned it down.”
The veteran striker went on to find the back of the net 207 times in 332 appearances for the Italian side, but the Premier League would have definitely been a formidable hunting ground for him.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) September 24, 2017
But times have definitely changed since. Since Ferguson’s departure, United have broken their club transfer record numerous times, first with the signing of Juan Mata, and eventually going on to break the then world records, attracting Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba.
Just recently, the club announced its all-time record profits as well. Till date, United’s name features on the short list of clubs that can afford enormous transfer fees and the subsequent wages.
The loss of Batistuta is certainly a saddening one, however, judging by how fortunes are running at the Mancunian club, it is unlikely that such a situation will occur again.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.