Phil Thompson has revealed that John Terry once ‘shook hands’ with the late Gerard Houllier over a transfer to Liverpool.

Thompson, who was Houllier’s assistant from 1998-2004 at Anfield, claims that the French boss hatched a plan to sign the defender when Chelsea were in financial turmoil in 2003.

Terry came incredibly close to joining Liverpool in 2003


Terry came incredibly close to joining Liverpool in 2003

Terry was one of the most promising youngsters at Stamford Bridge, but club hierarchy were reluctant to offer him a new deal due to their dire financial situation at the time.

And with his contract set to expire at the end of the 2002/03 season, Houllier approached Terry over signing him at the end of their match in west London.

“One of the strangest transfers that nearly happened was John Terry coming to Liverpool,” Thompson told Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast.

“In the final game of the 2002/03 season it was like a play-off to get in the Champions League when we played Chelsea away.

“They beat us down at Stamford Bridge just before Roman Abramovich came to town, but we’d heard Chelsea were in dire straits financially.

Thompson was assistant to Houllier at Liverpool in 2004

Getty Images – Getty

Thompson was assistant to Houllier at Liverpool in 2004

“They weren’t going to offer Frank Lampard a contract, or John Terry.

“After the game Gerard Houllier said to me, ‘He’s (Terry) a bit of a player, isn’t he?’ and I replied ‘he’s a great player John Terry. He’s not the quickest, but he reads the game fantastically well.’

“I also told Gerard that I didn’t believe Chelsea had offered him a contract yet. So, as the Chelsea players were walking around the pitch for the traditional lap of honour, Gerard went to shake John’s hand and asked him, ‘how would you like to play for Liverpool?’

“Terry replied, ‘I’d love to Mr Houllier. I’d love to.’ Gerard told him he’d be in touch and we went into the dressing room. While we were in there and he told me what had happened, I said, ‘Gerard, we’ve got to get his agent’s number and do this quick.’

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“So we sent one of our coaches to the players’ lounge to see John and said to him, ‘I believe you had a word with Gerard Houllier, can we have your agent’s name and phone number please?’ Terry said he’d do better than that and handled him his personal phone number.

“A couple of weeks later that summer Abramovich took over Chelsea and his first dealings were to sign up John Terry and Frank Lampard on big contracts. We were so close to getting him though.”

Terry is Chelsea’s most decorated player of all time, having won four Premier Leagues, five FA Cups and three League Cups.

The Blues icon, who is currently Dean Smith’s assistant at Aston Villa, also has Champions League and Europa League medals to his name.


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