A former Premier League midfielder has revealed how his “biggest regret” was rejecting a transfer to Liverpool while “halfway through a medical.”
Once a player reaches the medical phase of a transfer, things are usually a formality. However, for this player, he was still in two minds about joining the Reds.
In recent years, the only definite, high profile Liverpool move to break down at this stage was for Loic Remy, in 2014.
In this scenario, though, the player didn’t even fail his tests. Instead, Lee Bowyer decided to turn Liverpool down, to stay at Leeds in 2002.
Speaking on MNF Retro, he said: “I was very close (to joining Liverpool). I was halfway through a medical but it just didn’t feel right for me at the time.”
Looking back, Bowyer admitted he now rues the decision, adding: “That is my biggest regret in football not going to Liverpool at that time. If I could’ve turned the clock back I would’ve gone.
“Looking back, I made the wrong decision.”
At the time, Bowyer was playing for Leeds who were in the UEFA Cup. The player-turned-manager tried to explain his choice to Jamie Carragher.
“I knew my time was coming to an end at Leeds, due to a few things behind the scenes that didn’t sit well with me, so I knew it was my time to go,” Bowyer said.
“I thought doing another five years up north, being a long way away from my family after doing six years at Leeds, didn’t sit right, but after all that I ended up going to Newcastle, which is even further away. It makes no sense!
“But at the time it just didn’t feel right, and that was the mistake I made.”
Bowyer’s name isn’t exactly one you would associate with star quality that Liverpool normally look for. However, manager Gerard Houllier “loved” the way he played, according to Carragher.
A three-year spell at Newcastle followed until he returned to the Hammers, where he was loaned out to Birmingham City.
Despite turning down Liverpool, Bowyer did go on to win a piece of silverware in his career – the League Cup with Birmingham in 2011. He also achieved a singular England cap, against Portugal in 2002.