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Adelaide made bid to sign Liverpool legend

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Adelaide United made a major bid to lure Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard to Coopers Stadium when he leaves Anfield in May.

United chairman Greg Griffin has revealed Adelaide – currently third on the A-League ladder after a shock 3-1 loss to Melbourne City on Friday– spoke to the English Premier League giant about signing the decorated club legend, who also captained England on 38 occasions.

He made the admission speaking on local Italian community radio 5RTI’s Soccer on 531 program, co-hosted by InDaily soccer columnist Paul Marcuccitti.

“Obviously a player like Steven Gerrard is a once-in-lifetime,” said Griffin.

“It would have been a massive offer in Australian terms.”

But Adelaide couldn’t match the offer made by Los Angeles Galaxy. Gerrard, who made 114 appearances for England and led Liverpool to victory in the UEFA Champions League, will move to the United States to join Galaxy in July, following in the footsteps of another former England captain David Beckham.

“We spoke to Liverpool,” Griffin confirmed.

“We put out (an offer) for Steven Gerrard, it was just about half what he was offered at LA Galaxy… It was a short conversation because he signed with LA Galaxy the next day.”

Gerrard will reportedly earn US$9 million (A$11.5 million) across one and half seasons in the US.

The revelation, significantly, implies United has a substantial war-chest with which to lure the right marquee signing, one who could both contribute to a premiership tilt and bring fans flocking through the turnstiles.

“But look it’s really hard,” said Griffin. “We’re not going to pay $4 million to Tim Cahill for example – never – because we’ll never get a return on that investment. (But) you might get a return on a Steven Gerrard for half that figure.”

The Liverpool skipper was appointed England’s full-time captain in May 2012. He retired from international football last year, having led his country in three major tournaments: the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and UEFA Euro 2012.

He is regarded as one of the finest English players of his generation.

Matthew Selby, chair of the Liverpool Supporters’ Club in Adelaide, said the prospective coup “would have been absolutely brilliant for football both in Australia and in Adelaide”.

“What (Alessandro) Del Piero did for Sydney FC, Gerrard would have done – and more – for Adelaide,” Selby said.

“He’s one of the best players ever … attendances would have gone through the roof. Obviously it’s a shame it never happened.”

Ironically, United will play host to Liverpool in an Adelaide Oval exhibition match in July — without Gerrard.

Griffin also confirmed Adelaide United already spends more on players’ wages “by a significant sum” than the A-League’s $2.5 million salary cap by using Argentine midfielder Marcelo Carrusca and Socceroos goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic as marquee players, whose salaries are exempt from the cap.

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