Anyone heard of 31-year-old Brazilian striker Cleo?
For us, he just about rings a bell – and it turns out Liverpool went all out to sign him when Roy Hodgson was in charge back in 2010.
At the time, the forward was at Partizan in Serbia, coming off the back of two consecutive seasons where he bettered 20 goals.
But according to Cleo, he rejected Liverpool for Chinese money – despite Roy Hodgson phoning him up and calling him a ‘goal machine’!
“It was a situation where I had to go, I had no choice,” he told ESPN Brazil.
“This bid from China was of a lot of money. I was the most expensive transfer of the Chinese league at that time! It was then that they began to invest heavily in foreigners. But for that I had to give up on many offers from Europe, such as Liverpool, Fiorentina, Lyon and Marseille.
“I could be playing in Europe nowadays, but I wouldn’t have financially got what I did in four years in China. I would have to play a whole career in Europe and work as a coach to get close to that.
“Of course it was very difficult because it’s everyone’s dream to play for a major European club, especially after Roy Hodgson called me a ‘goal machine’. But I don’t regret it. I secured my financial independence.”
After a stint in China where Cleo hardly pulled up trees, he moved to Japan and then back to Brazil, where he currently plies his trade in the second division with Atletico Paranaense.
It seems like we didn’t miss out on an awful lot, in truth, as in January 2011 we bought Luis Suarez, who turned out to be one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history.