This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
It’s hard to imagine the most glamorous person to ever play for Leicester City being anyone other than Jamie Vardy, however, a deal the best side of a decade ago would have come pretty close.
Rollback the days to October 2010 and Sven Goran Eriksson had just taken the over the Foxes while they were in the relegation zone of the Championship. With the club being taken over that year by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his consortium, they were looking to make a statement to the rest of English football by making a big name transfer. One name they targeted – David Beckham.
Speaking to Sky Sports in 2010, Eriksson admitted that he made an audacious attempt to sign his former captain, who then played for LA Galaxy.
He said (via the Guardian): “The owners want a big signing. It is interesting the players that have been mentioned. I made phone calls to more or less all of them.
“Most of them, they don’t really want to come to our league. If we get to the Premier League it will be much easier to get these players. But we are trying and the owners are happy to back me.
“If you talk about Beckham, of course I should take Beckham but I don’t think he will go anywhere. I spoke to his agent to see if there was a small chance, but he said it was not possible.”
Considering the Foxes were stuck in the Championship at the time, it would have been the coup of all coups to have brought Becks to the East Midlands. Presumably, they would have gone after him in January 2011, which would have been a season-and-a-half before legend Vardy did join the club.
Even with the club battling hard to get out of that league at the time – is it a transfer they will regret not happening? Of course, it would have been fun for fans to have seen England’s all-time record holder play at the King Power, but with the beauty of hindsight, could they have had a much better decade?
Let’s just say David Beckham did move to the East Midlands in the 2010/11 season, would Jamie Vardy still have come afterwards? Would they have gone up earlier? It’s futile predicting woulds and coulds, but let’s be honest, his arrival could have had serious consequences which might have led to them not winning the Premier League and not being second in the division right now.
In fact, there’s an argument to say that Leicester have benefitted through not making that huge-name signing that the board allegedly craved at the time. Focusing on smarter recruitment, signing players like Riyad Mahrez and the aforementioned Vardy (N’Golo Kante would join a short while later), the Foxes were able to build a team that ultimately helped them win the Premier League.
So, missing out on a glamour signing could have helped. Sven himself saw that big names lower down the footballing pyramid aren’t always a good idea through his brief time at Notts County and the fact they couldn’t get Beckham – who’d surely have demanded big money and the spotlight given his stature – when a big signing was desired, arguably helped the likes of Steve Walsh take a smarter route.
What was the catalyst to Leicester’s success? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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