Sir Alex Rejected Star Player's Request To Move Directly To Liverpool, Forced Him To Sign For Another Club
Manchester United take on Liverpool today in what is one of the most heated rivalries in English football, and that came to the fore when Sir Alex Ferguson famously denied Gabriel Heinze a move to Merseyside.
The late Phil Chisnall was the last player to move directly between the two clubs back in 1964, and Ferguson was not about to break that record when his Argentinian defender wanted to leave Old Trafford.
Quotes from Sir Alex's Ferguson autobiography have been brought to light once again by talkSPORT, and reveal how the fearsome Scot did everything possible to ensure the defender did not move to Anfield.
"Gabriel was told, with no ambiguity, that historically Manchester United do not sell players to Liverpool, and vice versa," Ferguson said in his autobiography.
Heinze arrived at United from Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 2004 and was a shining light in an otherwise disappointing season for the Red Devils, making 39 appearances across all competitions as Fergie's team finished third without winning a trophy.
But things quickly turned sour for the defender, who asked to leave the club a year later before suffering a serious knee injury that kept his side-lined for several months.
"After one year he wanted to leave. We were playing Villarreal (in the Champions League in September 2005) when his agent came to see me," Ferguson added.
"Things were never the same after that. The following day he injured his cruciate," adding that when he returned to action during the 2006/07 season he wanted new terms on a new contract.
Heinze won his one and only Premier League title that season, before the exit door was opened for the Argentine.
Liverpool reportedly made an offer for the defender, and former boss Rafael Benitez publicly praised Heinze's qualities and the difficulties in bringing a player with his talent to Merseyside.
"It's clear he's a player we like and he's a very good player," Benitez said. "That's the reason why they don't want him to leave for us.
"We made an offer which they rejected. The lawyers are now working on it and so we have to wait."
Things then started to get very messy between Heinze and United, with former Crystal Palace chairman and current talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan revealing how the Eagles were roped into the proposed transfer.
Jordan explained in his diary, titled, 'Be Careful What You Wish For' that Phil Alexander, the club's CEO, received an approach from someone called James Green who claimed to represent a South American agency called Soccer SA.
"The gist of the conversation was that this agent wanted Crystal Palace to buy Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United and then immediately sell him on to Liverpool," he wrote and added that Palace would receive £1million in 'commission' for the deal.
Jordan viewed this as a bung and instructed Alexander to inform then-Man United chief executive David Gill, so that it could be used as evidence in the tribunal. The Red Devils won this and any deal was now firmly off the table.
Heinze still ended up leaving United to go to Real Madrid instead of Liverpool.
He won the La Liga title in his first season at the Bernabeu before subsequently moving onto Marseille and AS Roma. Heinze then returned to Newell's Old Boys in Argentina, in what was Heinze's final club prior to retiring in 2014.