Rangers cult hero Gascoigne claims he almost signed for Leeds instead
18 Nov 1996: Paul Gascoigne (left) and teammate Ally McCoist pose with the trophy after the Scottish Coca Cola cup final between Rangers and Hearts at Celtic Park in Glasgow. Rangers won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark Thompson/Allsport

Rangers cult hero Gascoigne claims he almost signed for Leeds instead

Legendary Rangers figure, Paul Gascoigne, says he was close to never coming to Ibrox, as quoted by the Daily Record.

The maverick midfielder joined the Gers in a multi-million pound deal from Lazio in 1995 and stayed with the club until 1998.

Gascoigne in action against Aberdeen at Ibrox in 1996. (Photo by Ben Radford/Allsport)

Over that time, he scored 30 league goals and helped the club to multiple trophies. He won two league titles, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup and has since been inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.

Yet, it seems it all could have been so different.

Rangers cult hero Gascoigne almost didn’t make it to Ibrox

“I nearly signed for Leeds, but I ended up turning them down and joining Rangers,” said Gazza, as quoted by the Daily Record. “Chelsea also wanted to sign me, but I was not going there and the only English club I would have gone for was Leeds.”

“But I ended up going to Rangers. Terry Butcher said: ‘go there and give it a try’ as they had Ally McCoist and Gordon Durie there.

“I went there and never looked back, but I think it would have been the same with Leeds. But I didn’t realise that after signing for Rangers, the next England game was at Elland Road and I got hammered!”

Fans flocked to the stadium for Gazza’s unveiling in 1995. (Photo by: David Rogers/ALLSPORT)

Verdict

If Gazza had chosen Leeds over the Gers, Bears and Scottish football, in general, would have been robbed of one of the most talented players ever to grace Ibrox.

The now 52-year-old was a character on and off the field, and a great exponent of attacking, flair-filled football.

With the England international playing alongside the likes of Ally McCoist, that Rangers team was potent.

Gazza and McCoist after cup success in 1995 (Photo by: Mark Thompson/Allsport)

Coincidentally, this summer, it appears that the Gers have signed another player who was being lined up by Leeds United. The Express reported last month that Marcelo Bielsa was ‘dead set’ on bringing the winger to Elland road.

Yet, that move failed to materialise, with the player himself always preferring a permanent move to Ibrox following last season’s successful loan.

It would be ludicrous to compare Kent and Gascoigne in terms of ability, but if the former can have as much success as the latter trophy-wise, Rangers would be safe in the knowledge that they made another excellent investment.