Every club has them. The transfers that got away, the kind of ones you think back now and ask, how did we not get the deal over the line?

In this series I have picked out a few transfers, some of them we will be happy to have missed out on, others, for the most part, will leave you wishing and thinking ‘what if.’


Date of interest: 2002

This is really a case of what were we thinking in not bidding. van Persie himself wanted to come but no formal offer was ever made.

Long before van Persie was a household name with Arsenal and Manchester United, helping them to titles aplenty. He was a teenage winger for Feyenoord on the radar of Rangers, newly appointed director of football, Dick Advocaat.

Rangers would of course come up against Van Persie and Feyenoord in the UEFA cup run of 2002, with the Dutch side just edging the tie after two legs. The young winger came on during the first leg at Ibrox in the 56th minute. The Ibrox surroundings clearly made a lasting impression on the youngster, who later said: “I just remember looking around the stadium, hearing the wonderful atmosphere and thinking I could get used to this.

Despite interest from Rangers, a bid was never submitted. Quite why is still up for debate. Simply it could be that interest cooled that summer as Advocaat returned to management with the Dutch national side – and he was the driving force behind the interest. Or it could be that Rangers didn’t think spending £2.75 million on a teenager at that stage was worth it.

This is even more of a crime when you take into account the players feeling on the muted transfer: “I was quite interested because I really wanted to leave my club. The problem for me was that they didn’t come in to make an offer “.

This left the door open for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger to make their move who fine tuned the rough diamond into a world class talent.

Quite what level of talent van Persie would have achieved in Alex McLeish’s Rangers side is debatable but one, again, we would have loved to have seen developed.

There was of course the strong rumours a few seasons back during Mark Warburton’s tenure that van Persie may at last be arriving at Ibrox, with some bookies even suspending bets. But as we fellow bears know all too well, don’t believe a word the bookies tell you.

Would van Persie still have turned into one of Europe’s top strikers had he made the move in 2002? Let me know your views, as always.

Steven Harrigan