10 players we wished had played in the Premier League (but didn't)

They teased us from afar, but could never quite be captured by Premier League clubs. Seb Stafford-Bloor recalls a clutch of stars who regrettably never made it to England

1. Oliver Kahn

Kahn's three most high-profile encounters with English sides (Euro 2000, 1999 Champions League Final, and Germany's 5-1 defeat in 2001) all ended in failure. Personally as well as collectively, too, because he was oddly off-colour in all three games.

However, has there been a European goalkeeper more suited to the Premier League in the last 20 years? Imposing, barrel-chested and a lover of the limelight; not only would he have suited – and thrived within – the sporting landscape, he would likely also have taken naturally to the burgeoning celebrity culture. Goalkeepers are prone to bending under the weight of scrutiny, but Kahn invited it. Actually, he craved that attention and fed off it; it may be a dislikeable trait, but it was a precious attribute in a big club keeper. 

It would take a long search to find three better penalty saves than the ones he made in the 2001 Champions League Final shootout, and he was typically a superb shot-stopper, but it was that aloof aura that was so fascinating. He seemed invulnerable to any situation, and that would have been fascinating to watch first hand. 

2. Ronaldinho

It nearly happened: Manchester United tried to sign him from PSG before, later in his career as told to FourFourTwo, Chelsea also attempted to bring him to the Premier League.

By the time Ronaldinho's career peaked, Spanish football had become so visible in England that it didn't really matter that he never made it. He was the quintessential big game player and so his best moments typically occurred on the biggest stages: the whole world was watching when he shimmied across Milan's box and leathered the ball into Dida's top corner and, likewise, the games he routinely lit up were beamed live to hundreds of different countries.

We all saw the flicks, the tricks, and that infectious smile for ourselves. His 2005 performance in the Santiago Bernabeu for instance, which saw him applauded off the field by home supporters, was so ubiquitously shown as to have happened in Britain anyway. 

So the intrigue lies in how he might have adjusted to the Premier League. He would almost certainly have been brilliant, but at what cost? Would his winking cheek have survived the experience or, over time, would his appetite for the game have been eroded by the physical attention he would almost certainly have received?

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