It’s hard to remember the last time that Glasgow Rangers had one of the best players in the world on their books. Former Gers midfielders Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne are probably the last truly world-class players to play in front of the crowds at the Ibrox Stadium. These days they have the likes of James Tavernier, who is playing well at the moment, but could never be put on the same pedestal as the Dane and his fellow Englishman.
However, things could have been very different for the Gers if they had managed to get their hands on one player from across the border.
Since the Premier League was first introduced in 1992, scores of strikers from all over the world have set foot on the not-so distant shores. The likes of Didier Drogba, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry have all plied their trade in the EPL. But one name stands out from the rest: Alan Shearer.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, Shearer is still the Premier League’s all-time record scorer since retiring as a player in 2005. Indeed, the Gers missed the opportunity to sign him back in the summer of 1998, with Steven Harrigan saying that Dick Advocaat’s side weren’t willing to spend £20m on the former Southampton man.
Newcastle had signed him for a world transfer breaking-record fee of £15m in 1996, so their asking price wasn’t unreasonable, especially when you consider the fact that wasn’t far away from what the Gers gave Chelsea for Tore Andre Flo two years later. And we all know what a disaster that transfer turned out to be in the end…
Known for his physical stature, power and heading ability inside the box, Shearer was cut from a similar cloth to the classic English centre-forward, and he had already established himself as a highly prolific goalscorer. He had begun his career with Southampton, where he scored 23 goals in 188 games, but he joined Blackburn Rovers for a British record fee at the time, before bagging 112 goals in 138 appearances in the Premier League.
Whilst we can’t be absolutely certain, it’s fair to say that the Gers would’ve scored goals galore with Shearer in the side, but sadly the deal collapsed as he ultimately decided to stay at his hometown club. He was already one of the best strikers in the world by the time he moved to the Magpies as his incredible record speaks for itself.
You only need to watch some of his highlight reels on YouTube to remember how good he was, but it is the fact that he is still held in such high esteem by professional footballers that speaks volumes. Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp insisted that the former England international is his “idol” in an interview with talkSPORT. This isn’t just an average Joe, this is a Premier League striker who is still in awe of Shearer.
Imagine what might have happened had Shearer joined the Gers instead of staying at the Magpies. Sadly, it’s one of those you can only dream about and the Ibrox outfit may still be regretting that they never paid the money to take him to Glasgow.