Six superstars that never signed in the Premier League despite lengthy transfer sagas

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Miguel Veloso's 36th birthday has brought up memories of players who appeared to be nailed on for a move to the Premier League yet never made the switch.

Veloso celebrated his birthday on Wednesday and is preparing to captain Hellas Verona against Torino in Serie A on Saturday. But if things had gone differently, he may have been playing in the English top-flight instead.

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The Portuguese midfielder has been linked with several Premier League clubs over the course of his career, yet never made the move. Here, Mirror Football looks at Veloso and five other stars who sadly never played in England.

Miguel Veloso

Veloso started his career in his native Portugal with giants Sporting Lisbon. He spent the first five years of his senior career at the Estádio José Alvalade and it was during that time that he began being linked with moves to the Premier League.

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One of those first links came from Arsenal and Manchester United in the summer of 2008. Both sides were looking to improve their options in defensive midfield, with Veloso's performances in the Champions League making him standout.

At the time, his agent claimed that he carried a £17million price tag, though that was never paid by either club. Six months later, Bolton saw two bids turned down by Sporting, with Veloso staying in Portugal until 2010 when he was sold to Genoa.

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HAVE YOUR SAY! Which player from football history would you have most liked to have seen play in the Premier League? Comment below.

Ronaldinho

Six superstars that never signed in the premier league despite lengthy transfer sagas

Ronaldinho was 48 hours from joining Manchester United before he moved to Barcelona ( Image: Getty Images)

Arguably one of the best players of all time, Ronaldinho became synonymous with Barcelona. But before arriving at the Nou Camp, there was a major chance he could have moved to Manchester United, a transfer he was forced to turn down.

“It almost happened. It was a matter of 48 hours but Sandro Rosell had told me way before I got the offer: 'If I become Barca president, will you come?' I said yes. I told the English I had chosen Barca. It was the right choice,” he said later.

The Brazilian superstar spent five years in Catalonia before joining Serie A giants AC Milan. After a three-year spell at the San Siro, Blackburn made an audacious bid to sign him, though sadly for Rovers fans the move failed to materialise and he returned to Brazil instead.

Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder played for three of the biggest clubs in Europe during his career, with spells at Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. He was frequently linked with a move to the Premier League, though it failed to ever materialise.

The closest he got to moving to England was in January 2013 amid a contract wrangle with Inter. Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal were all tracking the Dutchman, with QPR also putting in an offer, though that was turned down.

“He is absolutely not interested in QPR and we haven't heard directly from anyone there. England probably has the top league in Europe, so it could appeal, but Wes would want to play for a top team,” his agent Soren Lerby told BBC Sport before he agreed a move to Galatasaray.

Kaka

Six superstars that never signed in the premier league despite lengthy transfer sagas

Kaka had offers from Chelsea and Manchester City when he decided to leave AC Milan ( Image: REUTERS)

One of the most talented footballers of his genaration, Kaka helped AC Milan to win Serie A and the Champions League before opting to move on in 2009. Chelsea reportedly made an £80m bid for him, though the Brazilian later revealed that he also recieved a firm offer from Manchester City.

“The real offer I got from an English club was Manchester City’s, around six months before I moved to Madrid. City were in the early days of their project to become a dominant club in Europe, and they wanted me to be one of their leaders on the pitch. But I didn’t think it was the right time to leave Milan,” he told Four Four Two last September.

“When City made the offer, Milan told me they were happy with it and keen to go ahead with the deal, to organise their finances. The doors were open to leave, and I said no. But I also told the club I’d happily go to Real Madrid if an offer came in the next window. It did.”

David Villa

One of the best Spanish strikers of all time, David Villa was linked with Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United before joining Barcelona in 2010. He spent three years at the Nou Camp before joining Atletico Madrid, but Arsenal made a bid for him before he linked up with Diego Simeone's side.

“We were in a lot of meetings and a lot of calls. I felt 90% in that moment that I [would] go to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. But at that moment we didn't arrive at the deal, Atletico Madrid arrived and in three or four days fixed everything,” Villa told BBC Sport in 2020.

“I don't know what would have happened if I'd signed for Arsenal. I'm very happy that I signed for Atletico Madrid, not just for winning the league but for everything. I'm very happy to have made that choice.”

Alessandro del Piero

Six superstars that never signed in the premier league despite lengthy transfer sagas

Alessandro Del Piero turned down the chance to join Manchester United from Juventus

Alessandro del Piero earned club legend status during a 19-year spell at Juventus. He became Juve's record goalscorer, winning six Serie A titles, but after his retirement, he hinted that he could have joined Manchester United at one point.

“In certain moments I could’ve been further away from Juve, particular moments, but I have no regrets and I always chose to stay. This stadium (Santiago Bernabeu) has a unique environment, as well as Old Trafford, but I made my choice,” he told Sky Sports Italia.

Del Piero stayed at Juventus until 2012, before he joined Australian A League side Sydney FC. The Italian finished his career with a one-season stint at Indian Super League team Delhi Dynamos before retiring in 2014.

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