REVEALED: Roy Keane ‘almost brought a young Giorgio Chiellini to Sunderland in 2007… but the £8m deal for the talismanic Italian defender fell through over just £200,000’
- Then-chief scout Mick Brown claims Giorgio Chiellini was offered to Sunderland
- The Black Cats were on the brink of signing the Juventus legend for £8m in 2007
- Brown was amazed to be told by boss Roy Keane that the deal had been finalised
- The former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson says the switch failed over £200,000
- Chiellini takes on England with Italy in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley tonight
Italy colossus Giorgio Chiellini was on the brink of joining Sunderland for a bargain £8million shortly after beginning his hugely successful 16-year spell at Juventus – only for the deal to fall through over £200,000.
Mick Brown, the Black Cats’ chief scout at the time, was staggered to be offered the powerhouse defender shortly after manager Roy Keane had secured promotion to the Premier League in his first season in charge at the club in 2006-07.
‘It was a day, like many others, when I took a call from an agent who said, “would you be interested in Chiellini?”, a rueful Brown told the Mirror.
Roy Keane (right) is said to have agreed a deal to snap up Giorgio Chiellini while at Sunderland
The commanding centre back stayed at Juventus and has enjoyed an illustrious career
‘I replied, “does a child like Christmas? Absolutely, we would, yes. But there’s no chance he’ll come here.” He said, “leave it with me”, so I did. A couple of days later, he called me back and said, “Chiellini is up for it.”
‘So I went and saw Roy Keane and left it with them. Subsequently, I asked the boss what was going on and he said, “It’s all but done.” You could have knocked me down with a feather.
‘A fee was agreed with Juventus – £8million – and Chiellini’s terms had been as well. We were all set to go. I thought, “if we get this over the line, we have swum the Channel.”
Former Manchester United assistant Brown was an understandably huge admirer of the impenetrability and no-nonsense defending that has seen Chiellini win nine Serie A titles with Juve and reach the final of Euro 2020 against England with Italy tonight.
Keane won promotion to the Premier League in 2007 and was offered Chiellini for £8million
The offer for Chiellini, who is preparing for the Euro 2020 final, failed over a paltry £200,000
The deal mysteriously fell through, he claims, over a sum of £200,000 that was not to do with Keane.
He said: ‘It was a real shame because I’d put my life on this kid turning out to be a cracker. Can you imagine what he would have been like? He would have been another [legendary defender] Charlie Hurley for Sunderland.’
Future Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic and his Croatia team-mate Mario Mandzukic are also said to have been among the potentially exceptional signings let slip by Sunderland.
Brown said: ‘It’s such a shame. Sir Alex [Ferguson] was right. It’s a wonderful club with a loyal set of supporters, who deserve a lot more.’
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