There have been several notable transfer near-misses involving Celtic over the past few years.

Ivan Toney sticks out as one along with recent Europa League final hat-trick hero Ademola Lookman but now, another has emerged in John O’Shea.

Celtic Fans
Soccer Football – Scottish Cup – Final – Celtic v Rangers – Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – May 25, 2024 Celtic fans inside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

The Irish defender, who played just under 400 times for Manchester United winning five Premier League titles, two English League Cups, an FA Cup, and the Champions League, could have signed for the Hoops back in the late 1990s.

According to Jim Goodwin, O’Shea was set to join the Scottish champions alongside him until Sir Alex Ferguson intervened.

“John was geared up to come to Celtic with me, but Sir Alex Ferguson turned up on his door in Waterford, completely out of the blue”, he said (The Courier via Football Scotland).

“His father nearly had a heart attack when he opened the door. He convinced John to go to Manchester United instead of Celtic.”

From the moment Ferguson intervened, the rest is history.

O’Shea’s compatriot Goodwin never made it in Glasgow having registered just a solitary senior appearance, but one wonders what the interim Ireland boss could have conjured up had events unfolded differently.

A great at United, the now 43-year-old did play against the Hoops a few times in the Champions League.

Back in 2006, he was involved at both Old Trafford and Parkhead where Shunsuke Nakamura scored two iconic free kicks.

He could have easily been on the same team as the Japanese midfielder had the legendary Sir Alex never intervened but instead, joined a long list of what might have been’s at Celtic.


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