Newcastle only sold James Milner in 2008 as they thought they could sign Bastian Schweinsteiger to replace him.
According to former coach Terry McDermott, the club reluctantly accepted a bid of around £15m for Milner in 2008, but only as they believed they had a deal in place to replace him with Schweinsteiger.
However, Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger’s club at the time, refused to sell the then-24-year-old midfielder for anything less than £50m, leaving Kevin Keegan’s side without a replacement for the departed Milner.
“We were actually at the club when we sold him, myself and Kevin Keegan,” McDermott begins. “We sold him for £15million.
“The story goes – and this is a true story – we didn’t want him to leave but we needed to get other players in because we’d had a bid of £15m.
“Kevin said ‘if we sell him for £15m, how are we going to replace him?”
“They said ‘we’ve already got one – Schweinsteiger’. He’s at Man United now but seven or eight years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him.
“The idea of accepting the bid of £15m for Milner, which was a lot of money then, and then we’re looking to get Schweinsteiger – it’s a no brainer.
“But after he’s signed for Villa – the day after – we’re trying to sign Schweinsteiger and the answer was ‘absolutely no chance, it will cost you £50 million if you wanted to buy Schweinsteiger’.
“So we had no one to replace him.”