Back in 1996, Manchester United moved for Karel Poborský after his involvement in the Czech Republic’s run to the final of the European Championships.
Things didn’t work out quite how the winger had hoped, with David Beckham denying him regular first-team action in his two seasons at Old Trafford, but now it has emerged that one of Poborský’s more illustrious international teammates would have loved to join the club.
Pavel Nedvěd, who joined Lazio after Euro 96, has told local media how one of his biggest regrets was not getting a chance to join Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.
Nedvěd told Idnes that he was a great admirer of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and that he was jealous of Poborský’s for having “experienced great matches”. However, while admitting that never playing for United was an unfulfilled dream of his, it seems the former Juventus man was closer to moving to a different Premier League club.
“The transfer was never on the table…there was only Chelsea,” Nedvěd said, seemingly referring to an approach from Blues boss José Mourinho following Juventus’ demotion to Serie B in 2006.
“I’m not regretting staying. On the contrary, I would never have forgiven myself for escaping,” he said at the time.
Nedvěd joined the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon in staying in Turin, while Chelsea’s biggest signing of the summer 2006 window saw Andriy Shevchenko arrive from AC Milan.
And he also joins a list of world-class footballers who could have easily found themselves in England if things had gone a little differently.
Blackburn were famously a volcanic ash cloud away from signing Robert Lewandowski and an in-form Tim Sherwood away from bringing Zinedine Zidane to Ewood Park.
Elsewhere, Pep Guardiola may now be in charge of the Premier League leaders, but he was reportedly close to joining the league as a player with Tottenham before opting to replace Andrea Pirlo at Brescia.
And, but for a personal bond with the Bianconeri, we could have seen the man who was the bridge between two generations of Czech players plying his trade in the Premier League.
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