Robert Pires signs for Rangers. According to the Frenchman, that was a potential occurrence that came extremely close to being reality.
Just at the start of Paul Le Guen’s disastrous tenure, Pires was a top target of the French flop. Unfortunately, the Arsenal legend instead decided to sign for Villarreal in order to please his mother.
Pires opened up on the events of 2006 ahead of a competitive five-a-side tournament being held at the SSE Hydro in January. The tournament is titled the Star Sixes, and will see Pires captain a Rest of the World side in Glasgow.
Yet, yesterday he revealed just how close he came to coming to Glasgow permanently, and in particular, Ibrox.
“In 2006 my manager spoke with someone from Rangers but I chose to go to Villarreal. I don’t know if it was a good choice but for me it was important because my mum is Spanish and it was important to see her son could play in La Liga.
“As a player it’s good when you receive offers from clubs such as Rangers. Everyone knows in Europe they are a very good club and especially in Scotland.
“It was an honour to receive this offer. It was at the time of Paul Le Guen. I had to make a decision and at that moment it was Spain and Villarreal.”
What impact would he have made?
It’s premature to say that Pires’ potential signing would’ve saved Le Guen. During his short stint in charge at Ibrox, the Frenchman was just disastrous.
Signing players such as Libor Sionko, Filip Sebo, and Lionel Letizi pretty much condemned him to failure from the moment he confirmed them. There’s no denying, however, that Pires would’ve made a good impact at the wrong time for Rangers.
It would’ve been perhaps a tad more interesting to see how a player like Pires would’ve done under a Walter Smith or Alex McLeish. It just shows, however, the signing power that Rangers had back in those days.
Pires joins a list of infamous nearly men that came close to coming to Ibrox. The likes of Lionel Messi, Robin Van Persie, and Andres Iniesta were all subject of interest from Rangers at varying points in their careers.
Le Guen, however, most certainly wouldn’t have been the man to make Pires work. He stumbled from one disaster to another at Ibrox, with Rangers just about submitting the league title by his departure in January 2007. Thankfully for Rangers, they now have a proper manager in charge who seems set to bring back the class the club had under previous glory managers.