Championship

The one that got away: Owen Hargreaves and West Brom

West Brom were close to signing one of the nation’s finest players back in 2011 but missed out at the very end when the then growing force Manchester City came knocking.

The Baggies are known more for their astute bits of business than splashing the cash aimlessly on big money, marquee signings. Which was, paradoxically, both the making of the club’s survival and the foundation of their downfall.

Indeed, too many times have we seen teams investing heavily in the unknown and it backfire fantastically. Sunderland and Portsmouth to name a couple of offenders.

West Bromwich Albion have done the opposite. And though their conservative approach to the transfer market finally caught up with them in the Premier League, it’s left them in good stead to bounce back from the Championship, refreshed, revitalised and financially stable.

The likes of Gareth Barry, 38, who’s one of the oldest in the Championship, have made sure of that.

So imagine what this man could have done if he joined back in 2011…

Owen Hargreaves – 2011

According to BBC Sport, Champions League winner and former England international Owen Hargreaves was close to moving for the Hawthorns before doing a U-turn and joining Manchester City.

What a player Hargreaves was, even with the extensive injury problems he faced throughout his career.

The midfielder possessed everything needed to be the best; he could tackle, he could pass; had an absolute engine in the centre of the park and had an incredible footballing brain to compliment all his ability.

What’s more amazing is that the rumours of him moving to West Brom came in the wake of a trophy-laded period at Manchester United – consisting of three Premier League medals and a Champions League.

Former Baggies manager was probably as surprised as everyone else, telling reporters at the time: “We made it clear: ‘Look, we’ve done the test, we agree with you, and your man Alex, that the knee’s OK and you can play football. And of course if you’d like to come and play for us that would be lovely”.

“But whether or not our offer is going to be interesting to him, that’s what I don’t know” (via goal.com).

The likes of Graham Dorrans, Youssuf Mulumbu and Zoltan Gera, who were decent enough in their own right, could have been far better alongside Hargreaves had he not made the controversial decision to switch the blue side of Manchester.

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