– Diego Maradona came close to joining Sheffield United in 1978
– The then Blades manager Harry Haslam was said to have agreed a £200,000 deal with Argentinos Juniors for him
– However, United refused to support their coach on Maradona as they later signed Alex Sabella instead
English club Sheffield United came close to signing legendary footballer Diego Maradona but they pulled off due to the £40,000 extra price tag on him.
The Blades board refused to splash extra cash on the Argentine god of soccer despite having their manager Harry Haslam travel to the South American country on a scouting mission in 1978.
He was said to have spotted a 17-year-old youngster who was on the payroll of Argentinos Juniors then – the club Maradona made his professional debut two years earlier.
Haslam was said to have made an offer of about £200,000 on the spot to bring Maradona to Yorkshire but the club refused to back their manager’s plan.
And he went ahead to sign fellow Argentinian midfielder Alex Sabella from River Plate for about £160,000 – £40,000 less than the price agreed with Argentinos Juniors for Maradona.
He (Sabella) became an instant hit at Bramall Lane but he was unable to help them avoid relegating to the Third Division at the end of the 1978-79 season as reported by SunSport.
The publication also reported that he was offloaded to Leeds United for about £400,000 after the Blades went further down into the fourth tier.
Meanwhile, Maradona remained at Argentinos Juniors until 1981 where he found the back of the net 115 times in 167 appearances, before his dream move to Boca Juniors for around £2 million.
And barely one year at the La Bombonera Arena, Barcelona came for him and paid a world-record fee of £5 million for his signature.
He is regarded as one of the best of all time to have graced the round leather sport as he won the FIFA World Cup for his country in 1986.
His tragic death on Wednesday following heart failure led to an outpouring of grief and sadness across the football world, particularly in his homeland, Argentina where he was revered like no other.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Argentina president Alberto Fernandez has declared three days of mourning in respect of the legendary god of soccer Diego Maradona.
The 60-year-old former Barcelona and Napoli icon died earlier this week after returning home from the hospital after a surgery procedure.
Though no one has been able to confirm the cause of his death since it was confirmed on Wednesday, November 25, some quarters believe he died due to cardiac arrest.
3 interesting footballing moments between Maradona and Nigeria | Legit TV[embedded content]