Graeme Souness: I missed out on signing Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel for Liverpool

The former Liverpool manager reminisced on how he missed out on two players who went on to become Manchester United legends

Graeme Souness
Graeme Souness Reuters

Graeme Souness has revealed Liverpool missed out on signing Manchester United legends Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel when he was in charge at the club.

Souness took over in the Anfield hot-seat in 1991 and had a difficult three years at the club where he was a hero in his playing days before quitting in 1994.

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"I missed out on two players who went on to become Manchester United legends," Souness told The Sunday Times, as reported by the Sun.

Souness confirmed that Schmeichel - who won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League in his Old Trafford career - was willing to pay for his own travel and accommodation when he spoke to the club because he was a big Liverpool fan.

Schmeichel eventually joined United in 1991 from Brondby for £550,000 and helped them win their first league title in 26 years in 1992/1993.

He went on to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best signings and was part of the historic treble-winning side in 1999.

The Schmeichel deal fell through because Souness did not want a "rookie goalkeeper" as he sought to replace long-serving Anfield stopper Bruce Grobbelaar with David James, according to Sky Sports.

"Ron Yeats, the chief scout then, told me there was a young Danish goalkeeper - Peter Schmeichel - who was a Liverpool fan and willing to pay his own travel and hotel in exchange for some time with us," Souness said.

"I was trying to ease out Bruce Grobbelaar and that was proving a hassle, plus I had just signed David James, so I thought I could do without a rookie goalkeeper."

He was also recommended Cantona after Liverpool played Auxerre in 1991 but turned the French striker down because he felt he already had too many players over the age of 30 in his squad.

But the Frenchman could have been the man to help Liverpool get back to their glory days if Souness had taken a chance on the "problem boy".

He added: "Eric Cantona was another I missed out on. We played Auxerre at home and Michel Platini came to see me afterwards. He said he had a player for me, a problem boy but a proper player.

"It was Cantona, but I said the last thing I needed was another problem player. I had 30-pluses I was trying to get out, so I didn't need more hassle. I said I was looking for something else and so it was no thanks."