Former Newcastle coach Terry McDermott says the club thought they were signing Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2008 – until Bayern Munich put them off with a £50million asking price.
In fact, McDermott claims the club reluctantly accepted a £15million bid from Aston Villa for James Milner on the misconstrued belief they were signing the German international as his replacement.
However, Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger’s club at the time, refused to sell the then-24-year-old midfielder for anything less than £50m, leaving Kevin Keegan’s side without a replacement for the departed Milner.
“We were actually at the club when we sold him, myself and Kevin Keegan,” McDermott begins. “We sold him for £15million.
“The story goes – and this is a true story – we didn’t want him to leave but we needed to get other players in because we’d had a bid of £15m.
“Kevin said ‘if we sell him for £15m, how are we going to replace him?”
“They said ‘we’ve already got one – Schweinsteiger’. He’s at Man United now but seven or eight years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him.
“The idea of accepting the bid of £15m for Milner, which was a lot of money then, and then we’re looking to get Schweinsteiger – it’s a no brainer.
“But after he’s signed for Villa – the day after – we’re trying to sign Schweinsteiger and the answer was ‘absolutely no chance, it will cost you £50 million if you wanted to buy Schweinsteiger’.
“So we had no one to replace him.”