Although Alex Ferguson was reportedly interested in the 21-year old England striker, in the summer of 1992 Alan Shearer moved from Southampton to Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £3.6m.
Funded by steel magnate Jack Walker, Rovers were in transition and with Shearer on the front-line, they eventually won the Premier League title in 1995.
It was after Euro ’96 when Shearer left Ewood Park for St. James’ Park and Newcastle United. But the question that remains is ‘what if he’d signed for Manchester United’?
It is reported that Shearer had agreed to sign for United in July of 1996 – he’d even struck an agreement to wear the No.9 shirt – but Jack Walker was having none of it.
It was widely known that he didn’t like United and refused to sell. Shearer was sold to Newcastle for £15m and Ferguson went out and bought Ronny Johnsen, Raimond van der Gouw, Jordi Cruyff, Karel Poborsky and a certain baby-faced assassin, Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
While Poborsky, Van der Gouw and Cruyff hardly set Old Trafford alight (103 appearances for the club between them), Johnsen had a fruitful (but often injured) 6 years at the club and Solskjaer’s 91 goals in 235 games were crucial to Premier League titles for the club. Oh, and a certain goal in the 1999 Champions League final to win the trophy for the first time since 1968.
Perhaps difficult to say what fortunes United would have had (or not) with Shearer. Ferguson likely would not have signed Teddy Sheringham, who came to Man United and won the lot. Or would Dwight Yorke have been touted, when United would have boasted Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer? Imagine lining up on the opening day of the 1996-97 season against Wimbledon (David Beckham from the halfway line) and having a forward line of Cantona and Shearer with Cole waiting in the wings.
For me, Shearer under-achieved at Newcastle. Yes, he scored goals, and a lot of them. 283 in 559 games in his club career for Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle, but he may have done (and won) so much more at United. Though those famous words “and Solskjaer has won it” may never have been uttered.
Shearer may not have suffered the injuries he did if he’d been playing for United and in all probability we wouldn’t be sitting here today waiting for title #20. It would be more likely #21 or #22.
By Jay @Jarisleif