Newcastle turned down £1.2m Zinedine Zidane transfer after scouts poor advice

Newcastle missed the opportunity to sign Zinedine Zidane for just £1.2million in 1996 – because a scout didn't rate the legendary French midfielder.

Bordeaux were up for selling Zidane with then Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan offered the player by agent Barry Silkman.

Though the Magpies turned down the chance, with Silkman telling talkSPORT: “The day I went to watch him play he actually had the flu and they only brought him on at half-time, but he scored one goal and made two others.

“After ten minutes, I said to Robbie [Slater, ex-West Ham] we’ve got to try and bring him back here.

“I went back to Jerome [Anderson, fellow agent] and said ‘I’ve watched the player and I’m going to put him in with Kevin Keegan and if a deal gets done I’ll make sure you are looked after’.

“He said ‘that would be fantastic’.”

Newcastle put in the initial work, getting a scout to keep an eye on Zidane.

Though the report back to Keegan wasn't impressive, despite Zidane already being a France international at the time.

Silkman added: “He got his report back from the guy who watched him and said the player has got no chance of making it, at best he could play for Wolves – who were bottom of the First Division.

“I phoned Kevin and said ‘who on earth have you sent to watch this player, it must be f***ing Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles’.

“Kevin laughed and said that was the guy they relied on in France and that’s his report. He said he’s watched the player, knows the player and doesn’t think he’s good enough to play for Wolves and they are bottom of the First Division.”

Zidane went on to be named Ligue 1 player of the year in 1996 and did end up playing in famous black and white stripes.

Though it wasn't for Newcastle with Juventus not turning their nose up on the superstar.

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