Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez were previously wanted by German club RB Leipzig, it has emerged.
Vardy has scored 22 Premier League goals to move Leicester to the brink of securing a memorable top-flight title this season, and finished second in the voting for PFA Player of the Year.
Gomez started the season positively at Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers, but suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in October and has not played since.
The coach of RB Leipzig, who play in the 2. Bundesliga, has revealed that both players were wanted by the club two years ago.
“We desperately wanted to sign Joe Gomez, who later chose Liverpool, and we were flying back from London to Leipzig with his agent,” Ralf Rangnick told Bild.
“In the plane, the agent said to me ‘Mr Rangnick, it’s a crying shame that you are so radical about who you sign and only go for players who are under 24 because I’ve got somebody who would be just perfect for you.
“I can guarantee he would become a national team player under you, but he’s already 27 and he’s also spent time in prison after a little fight.’
“It was Jamie Vardy.”
Rangnick recalled himself replying: “No, he’s 27 – we’re not doing it.”