Sir Alex admits this legendary European striker could have arrived at Man United earlier than he eventually did

Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United could have signed Eric Cantona in 1991

According to the club’s official site, Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that the club was close to signing Eric Cantona in 1991.

The King, then in France, had fallen out of favour with Nimes and was angling for a transfer. Ferguson was keen on the player and consulted those in the know-how about making a move.

While the player did respond positively to United’s overtures, he eventually ended up at Leeds United, leading them to the league the next year.

Eric Cantona signed for United in 1992

Ferguson went on to add that French legend Michel Platini was the one who urged him to make a move for the enigmatic Cantona. His view was backed up by yet to be Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier.

“Platini says to me – it was the time he [Cantona] was suspended from French football – he says ‘you should go and sign Cantona.”

Unfortunately, it was not to be. His brief but impactful spell at Elland Road if anything prompted United to make another effort to land him in 1992. They were not to be denied a second time and landed a player who would go on to immortalize the number 7 jersey.

Cantona became the first United star to be inducted into the PL Hall of Fame

A legacy to behold!

Cantona would spend just five seasons at Old Trafford. However, the iconic Frenchman led us to four league titles and left behind a legacy of success on the pitch and a cult status off it.

He scored 70 goals in 156 Premier League appearances in what was a short spell at Old Trafford. While there may be players more accomplished than him, the impact he had is long-lasting and fans remember him with fondness even today.

His success in England prompted the likes of other French stars such as Thierry Henry to seek their fortunes in the Premier League. If anything Cantona helped amplify the young league into the behemoth it would eventually become.

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Cantona became the third inductee into the prestigious Premier League Hallf of Fame earlier this month. He is the first United player to join the pantheon of greats.

While he has had his share of controversies, it cannot be argued that Cantona was one of the finest players to play the game in the 90s. None who would have seen him play would say otherwise.