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'Kenny Dalglish wanted to sign me for Liverpool but I couldn't understand a word he said'

Former England players Jermain Defoe (L), Paul Gascoigne (C) and David Seaman (R) share a joke as they parade on the pitch at half time as England celebrate playing their 1,000th International match, during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying first round Group A football match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium in London on November 14, 2019.
-Credit: (Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)


English football legend Paul Gascoigne has opened up about how he nearly ended up donning a Liverpool shirt. That followed conversations with Sir Kenny Dalglish — though they weren't especially fruitful.

Gascoigne, 57, is widely considered one of the most gifted players England has ever produced. He had several suitors in 1988 after his stellar season at Newcastle earned him PFA Young Player of the Year and a spot in the PFA Team of the Year.

When it came time to leave the Toon, Liverpool's league rival Tottenham Hotspur sealed 'Gazza's' signature for a then-record-breaking fee of $2.8m (£2.2m/€2.6m). But that was not before he had spoken to the Reds and then pledged his future to Manchester United and their boss, Sir Alex Ferguson.

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During an appearance on The Rest Is Football podcast, Gascoigne provided some fascinating insight into those transfer talks. He started by revealing a call from Liverpool's then-manager, Dalglish.

"I was sitting with my dad and the phone went and it was Kenny Dalglish first," he said. "I said, 'dad, it's Kenny Dalglish', and he said, 'I want you to sign for Liverpool'.

Despite having spent half an hour on the phone with Dalglish, Gazza admits he couldn't quite understand the Scot. "So I spoke to him for half an hour and I put the phone down and I said, 'dad, to be honest I did not understand a word he said!"

Next was a call from Ferguson with a promise to sign for United: "Then Sir Alex called us, and said, 'look we want to sign you'. I said, 'okay, I'll sign when I come back from holiday'. So I told my dad I'm going to Old Trafford, Man United, and then two days later the phone went and it was to sign for Tottenham."

When Tottenham tried to swoop in, however, Gazza's father was having none of it: "I went, 'look, I'm going to sign for Man United'. I said, 'dad, it's Tottenham'. And he said, 'tell them to f**k off! You're going to sign for Man United'.

"So I said, 'my Dad says f**k off, I'm going to Man United.' He then went, 'tell your Dad we'll give him £120k!'

"He went, 'what are you waiting for then, son?'"

Liverpool.com says: If only Gascoigne had understood Dalglish! It seems strange he was able to understand Ferguson just fine, though...

Liverpool was just coming to the end of its era of dominance, and it's interesting to think what might have happened if Gascoigne had in fact been recruited. Perhaps a couple of those sides that fell just short of the title might have been able to go the distance.

* An AI tool was used to add an extra layer to the editing process for this story. You can read the original story in the Liverpool ECHO here.