World Cup Winner Youri Djorkaeff Reveals Why He Turned Down Liverpool Move

15 January 2020 12:06

​Liverpool dealt BLOW in bid to sign French World Cup winner. is the headline you might see elsewhere.

But, alas, this story is not about Kylian Mbappe, or any of the class of 2018, and instead dates back near 20 years to the time when Gerard Houllier came close to bringing boyhood Reds fan Youri Djorkaeff to Anfield.

An 86-cap forward for France, who was also part of the squad that won the Euros in 2000, Djorkaeff impressed at Strasbourg, Monaco, Inter and more in the 90s before spending the twilight of his career in the Premier League at Sam Allardyce's geriatric entertainers Bolton Wanderers between 2002 and 2004.

Youri Djorkaeff

Djorkaeff scored 21 goals in two-and-a-half seasons at Bolton and is fondly remembered for his stint in England. However, speaking ​the Athletic's James Pearce, it turns out he might've ended up at Anfield rather than the Reebok Stadium.

He is quoted as saying: “I had the opportunity at the time to sign for Liverpool or Man Utd.

“I spoke to Gerard Houllier and to Alex Ferguson too. Gerard is my friend and he said, ‘Come to ​Liverpool. You can sign for one year.’

“I was a Liverpool fan as a kid so it was tempting. Being from Lyon, I was so happy when they beat Saint-Etienne. I was young but I just remember the red shirts, the panache of the players, the strong characters, the long hair, lots of running!

“I love Liverpool, but I had to say no. Gerard couldn’t guarantee that I would start many games. I thought about it but I really needed to be somewhere I could play every week. I never regretted my decision.”

Instead, that summer, Liverpool brought in.errmm.Bruno Cheyrou, El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao. Yikes.

El-Hadji Diouf,Gaizka Mendieta

Speaking on why he chose Bolton ahead of Liverpool or even ​Man Utd, Djorkaeff said: “Big Sam came over and said, ‘You can have whatever you want. If you want to play all the games, you’ll play all the games.’

“That was exactly what I wanted to hear. My dream was to finish my international career at the World Cup and I knew that to be able to get back in the France squad I had to be playing regularly at a high level. Bolton was perfect for me.

“Initially I signed until the end of the season. I thought it would be nice to play those 15 games and then move to a different club. But things went so well I signed for another two years. I thought, ‘Why would I go to a different club?’

“It was a pleasure to play with players like Okocha and Campo. We were a relatively small Premier League club doing great things. It’s why people loved us in Bolton. We cared about the people and that was key to what we achieved.”

Source: 90min