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  • David Tyrer

Taribo West almost played for Liverpool, because of the Mafia..

If you alive and supporting Liverpool during the Gerard Houllier era or before, you should have heard of the name Taribo West.

The Nigeria defender was all the rage back in the late 90s and early 00s amongst fans of Premier League sides. Any time any of us needed a new defender, West's name was always thrown into the mix.

Largely because of his wonderfully colourful hair and personality as for his defensive capabilities. But he was linked to all and sundry.

If you ever bought the sadly now defunct 'The Kop' magazine you'd have seen West's face in summer sections about transfer rumours many times up to, and during, Houllier's time.

But the centre back himself has now admitted that he came close to joining Liverpool. But bizarrely, all because of the Mafia.

Speaking to Score Nigeria (via FourFourTwo), he said: "The Mafia would do anything in their powers to make sure I was done away with at Milan.

"They cooked a vicious story in the press that I was injured in the desperate bid to send me out of Milan.

"The doctors were bribed to say I was injured, but it was a lie. They did that because they felt it was unthinkable for an African player to take the place of those three ageing defenders."

The Nigeria star moved around a lot follow his move from Milan and never quite settled anywhere, but it could have all been different had Houllier gotten his man.

He continued: "Liverpool came with an offer, but at the end of the day I had to settle for Derby County.

"But for (Gerard) Houllier's illness, I would have signed a four-year contract with Liverpool this week. Everything has been sorted out and all I needed to do was bring down my stuff from Milan."

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