Former Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has recalled how Steven Gerrard was “adamant” about joining Chelsea in 2005.
Except for a spell with Los Angeles Galaxy in the twilight of his career, Gerrard spent the entirety of his playing days at Anfield, and is now coaching the Reds Under-18 team.
However, he was a target for Jose Mourinho during the Portuguese’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, and both player and club issued statements announcing his decision to leave Merseyside at the time.
Gerrard ultimately decided against a move to West London, but when Parry was asked by the Liverpool Echo how close the talisman came to leaving, he replied: “Way too close.
“It’s quite interesting when you reflect on that time. People frequently say who are the signings you are proudest of and who gave you the most pleasure. In many ways it was Steven and Carra – keeping players is as important as buying them.
“Clearly, Steven came very close (to leaving) twice. In fact on the second occasion we thought we had lost him. The chairman and I went to see him at Melwood and there was no changing his mind. He was adamant but, fortunately, he did change his mind.
“We tried to outline that he was at the centre of all our plans. Steven’s dilemma was he wanted to win trophies and would he have a better chance of doing that elsewhere with greater resources?
“Steven’s head had been turned and he was tempted but when it came to it he wanted to stay. He phoned me late at night. He said: ‘You’re not going to believe this but will you have me back again?’ The obvious answer was yes.”