Eric Cantona could have signed for LIVERPOOL in 1991 but Graeme Souness turned


‘The last thing I needed was a controversial figure’: Graeme Souness reveals he turned down the chance to sign Eric Cantona for LIVERPOOL in 1991 – two months before the mercurial Frenchman joined Leeds United

  • Graeme Souness had an opportunity to sign Eric Cantona whilst Liverpool boss
  • After a win versus Auxerre in 1991, Michel Platini approached him about Cantona
  • Souness opted not to take the risk, as he did not want a ‘controversial figure’ 
  • The striker went on to sign for Leeds in 1992 before joining Manchester United 
  • Cantona scored a hat-trick against Souness’ Liverpool in the 1992 Charity Shield

Graeme Souness has revealed he turned down the opportunity to sign Eric Cantona in 1991 whilst Liverpool manager, two months before the Frenchman joined Leeds United.  

Cantona was at French club Nimes in the latter months of 1991 when he received a two-month ban for throwing the ball at the referee. 

The French maverick then abruptly announced his retirement in December but a month earlier, Souness has been offered the chance to sign Cantona after being approached by then-France manager Michel Platini after a 3-0 victory against Auxerre at Anfield in November. 

Graeme Souness has revealed he turned down the opportunity to sign Eric Cantona

Graeme Souness has revealed he turned down the opportunity to sign Eric Cantona

Cantona was at the time in murky waters at French club Nimes before he moved to England

Cantona was at the time in murky waters at French club Nimes before he moved to England 

‘My story about Eric Cantona…’ Souness began, speaking on The Football Show on Sky Sports. 

‘I was manager of Liverpool, we’d lost 2-0 away to Auxerre, came back and beat them 3-0. After the game, there was a guy outside who said he was a good pal of mine, and it was Michel Platini. 

‘Not a close pal of mine, only time I came into contact with him was when I was in Italy, he was at Juventus and I was at Sampdoria. 

Souness coached Liverpool, a club he also captained as a player, from 1991-1994

Souness coached Liverpool, a club he also captained as a player, from 1991-1994

Michel Platini, who was France manager at the time, approached Souness about Cantona

Michel Platini, who was France manager at the time, approached Souness about Cantona

‘Anyway, he came in and said “look I’ve got a player for you, he’s a real problem boy in France but he’s really talented, he’d be perfect for your club.”

‘I said ‘listen Michel, I’m fighting fighting fires at the moment, trying to get some people out the door, they’re resisting, fighting a dressing room here. The last thing I need is another controversial figure in there,” and that was Eric [Cantona].

‘Then Eric went on trial at Sheffield Wednesday and ended up signing for Leeds and the rest is history.’ 

The French maverick went on to sign for Leeds Utd in January 1992 before moving to Man Utd

The French maverick went on to sign for Leeds Utd in January 1992 before moving to Man Utd

Cantona made his name at Man United at the beginning of Sir Alex Ferguson's successful era

Cantona made his name at Man United at the beginning of Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful era 

Cantona, quickly reversing his retirement decision, went on to trial at Sheffield Wednesday before signing for Leeds in January 1992.

In fact, the Frenchman rubbed salt into Souness’ wounds when he…



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