Manchester United snubbed the chance to sign Croatia’s star at FIFA World Cup last summer

13 December, 2022

Dominik Livakovic has been the talk of the town in the footballing world ever since the World Cup reached the business end. The Croatian star was central to his team’s terrific knockout stage victories against Japan in the round of 16 and the shocking win against Brazil in the quarterfinals. On both occasions, Livakovic stepped up to make big saves in the penalty shootout. 

In a quite staggering report released by a reliable journalist from The Athletic David Ornstein, Livakovic was available for purchase in the summer for Manchester United. United, who were set to begin a new journey under the leadership of Erik Ten Hag, was looking for a backup or first-team goal-keeper to play second fiddle to David de Gea or possibly replace him. 

They had also sent Dean Henderson on loan to Nottingham Forest after the keeper was not given enough chances under interim boss Ralf Rangnick or in the pre-season under Erik Ten Hag. 

Although plenty of names like Yan Sommer and Jan Oblak made rounds, none of the rumors ever transpired. As it turned out, United signed Martin Dubravka in the final few days of the summer window from Newcastle United on a loan deal, but the keeper has made very few appearances for the club in the season’s first leg. 

According to David Ornstein, Manchester United had the golden opportunity to sign Livakovic for a reported cut-short price of €5 to 10 million fee when Dean Henderson left to join Nottingham Forest on loan.

Another big Premier League club who were in the market for a first-team goalkeeper was Leicester City, who were in the hunt for a new man to replace Kasper Schmeichel. The Croatian keeper, currently under contract with Dinamo Zagreb, was also offered to the Foxes but they decided to give the responsibility to Danny Ward. They signed Alex Smithies from Cardiff City after the club left him. 

Livakovic saved three penalties in the game against Japan and produced a heroic performance against Brazil. After making multiple staggering saves in normal time and extra time, the keeper returned to save the first shot by Brazil in the penalty shootout, taken by Rodrygo. Croatia went on to win the shootout 4-2.