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Leeds had a shocker with missed Ruud van Nistelrooy transfer

Leeds United have held a long-standing rivalry with Manchester United for as long as many can remember, with the infamous Kevin Keegan rant in 1996 a microcosm for their connection as they both sought the title.

They have battled over trophies and players, but in 2002 the Red Devils got one over on them immensely when a particular transfer saga went their way.

Despite moving to Old Trafford in 2002 for £19m, the Whites had reportedly held an interest in Ruud van Nistelrooy way before this deal was concluded.

Would Leeds have got relegated if they'd signed Ruud van Nistelrooy?





Had they managed to lure him to Elland Road instead, it could have vastly altered the varied landscapes of both clubs.

Having scored 77 goals in 90 appearances for PSV Eindhoven it was no surprise that he was drawing interest, however in Manchester, he was handed the perfect platform to earn superstardom.

Although, the Dutchman was prolific pretty much wherever he went.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson however, he maintained a clinical brilliance that saw him win every domestic trophy available to him.

Along the way, he would score 150 goals in just 219 appearances before being sold on as a 30-year-old for a respectable £10m.

Real Madrid would then also reap the rewards, as he scored 64 and assisted 16 in 96 appearances.

To compare him with a Leeds great, Alan Smith only managed 54 goals in 223 games for them during a similar time frame.

He is one of a few that then made the move to Manchester, where he struggled. His whole career only yielded 70 goals, whereas van Nistelrooy was six goals shy of having scored over that for three different clubs.

The 70-cap star’s exploits led the legendary Scottish manager to label him a “fantastic goalscorer”, comparing him to the great Dennis Law.

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What month did Marcelo Bielsa's tenure come to an unfortunate end?

It marks the highest of praise for the greatest of poachers and notes a huge transfer howler that the Peacocks will forever rue.

Whilst they suffered relegation in 2004, he was coming off the back of a season where he scored 20 in the Premier League and won an FA Cup.

How different things might have been had their interest materialised into something before their arch-rivals struck first.

Article title: Leeds had a shocker with missed Ruud van Nistelrooy transfer

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