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Former Liverpool goalkeeper, Jerzy Dudek, has revealed that Feyenoord turned down a £10m offer from Arsenal for his services before selling him to Liverpool six months later for £6.6m.
In an article in the latest issue of Four Four Two describing ‘Games that changed my life’, Dudek talks about France’s 1-0 win over Poland on 23 February, 2000.
“One of my first games for Poland,” he said. “We played the world champions, but only lost unluckily at the end from Zidane’s free-kick and a ricochet.
“I had a good game and Arsene Wenger came up and congratulated me. After that Arsenal offered £10 million for me, but Feyenoord said no and six months later sold me to Liverpool. My career could have been very different.”
Working out the timings, Arsenal seem to have offered £10m for Dudek, who was then 27, in the January window of 2001. He moved to Liverpool that summer.
Arsenal were clearly looking for a new keeper because as Dudek signed with Liverpool in the summer of 2001, Arsenal purchased Richard Wright for £6m from Ipswich Town. That price is according to TransferLeague. Wikipedia say the deal was worth £2m while Transfermarkt believe the fee was just over £8m.
The 23-year-old was rated incredibly highly but his career at Arsenal lasted only one of the five years on his deal before he was sold to Everton at a loss.
Seen as a long-term successor to David Seaman, a series of errors rocked his confidence and he soon slipped behind Stuart Taylor at the club. He never fully recovered after the 4-2 defeat to Charlton at Highbury, which saw Wright punch the ball into his own net.
Arsenal bought Rami Shaaban as they let Wright, Seaman and Alex Manninger all leave in the same window. They bought Jens Lehmann the following summer and the German did not lose a single league game in his first season.
Dudek, meanwhile, won the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League with Liverpool. He played 11 times against Arsenal during his time in England, keeping only one cleansheet, while conceding 25 goals.
No other team around the world scored more past him in his career and he won only once against the side he could have played for.