Manchester United signed Andrei Kanchelskis on the 26th March 1991 in a £650,000 deal from Shakhtar Donetsk, making his debut in the penultimate league fixture in the 1990/91 season, a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. Kanchelskis scored his first United goal on the 2nd November 1991 in a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United, going on to play for United until 1995, when he was sold to Everton for £5 million, the biggest fee Everton had paid for a player at the time. Kanchelskis scored 36 goals in 161 appearances for United, but it could have easily been Liverpool where he plied his trade, something he was told by then manager Graeme Souness as United were not playing well, until the Premier League commenced anyway. Kanchelskis, speaking exclusively to 888sport, spoke about the regret Souness said he would show by signing for United, saying:
“Souness said if I went to Manchester United I would regret it and should go to Liverpool. He said United were not playing very well and told me about the Anfield crowds. But I was very happy to join United. Looking back at the trophies, I think it was good for the fans as well.”
At the time, Liverpool were the in form team, winning their last league title in the 1989/90 season, with United not winning a league title, at least in the top-flight, since the 1966/67 season. Both Arsenal (1990/91) and Leeds United (1991/92) would win the Division One title after Liverpool, before the Premier League arrived, which started United dominance in the top-flight, after coming second to Leeds United in the last Division One top-flight title race. Liverpool, being the side in form and used to winning, would have been the wrong choice for Kanchelskis, as he had seen for himself with United’s rise to the top. The Ukrainian-born winger managed to have a good career at United, winning the Premier League title twice, one FA Cup, one League Cup, one FA Community Shield and one UEFA Super Cup.
During the same period Kanchelskis spent at United, Liverpool managed on FA Cup and one League Cup, which shows United were the best decision for the player, and that Souness was just bitter, when is he not, that the Ukrainian winger chose not to sign for his club, who in effect were entering a 26 year period where a league title would not be brought back to Anfield. Kanchelskis, if he opted for Liverpool, may have stayed there longer that he did at United, he might well have helped continue their dominance, but he didn’t, therefore moving to Old Trafford, helping Sir Alex Ferguson side to the top and dominate English period for much of his near 27 year reign of the club. Many players will look back at their decisions, but it is clear Kanchelskis is not one of those, and his medals will show that!