Former Derby County goalkeeper Mart Poom has told Planet Football how he turned down moves to Manchester United and Everton during his Rams days.
The former Estonia international was a hugely popular figure at Pride Park.
Derby signed Poom in 1997 for a bargain £500,000 from Portsmouth. He quickly became the Rams’ number one during their most successful period since the late 1980s.
Poom’s stock rose at Pride Park. And, according to the former shot-stopper, he had offers to join both Manchester United and Everton but opted to stay at Derby.
Derby is a good place to play football, with big support. It was great to be part of. I managed to establish myself as No.1 and I remained as number one throughout my time there. I had a great rapport with the Derby fans. That’s why I never asked to move even though the club received one or two good offers for me. One was Manchester United and one was Everton, which are really big clubs. But I was loyal and enjoyed being in Derby.
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At the time, United were on the lookout for a new goalkeeper. Peter Schmeichel’s Old Trafford career ended on the highest possible note after the treble in 1999.
Poom would have been ideal for the Red Devils. Standing at 6ft 5inch, he was an imposing figure, an excellent shot-stopper and commanded his area well.
United ultimately signed the infamous Massimo Taibi. He played just four matches as a couple of high-profile clangers ended his Old Trafford prospects early.
Mark Bosnich and Raimond van der Gouw were also on United’s books. But neither were as good as Poom, and the same can be said of Everton’s goalkeepers at the time.
Poom ended up making over 130 Premier League appearances for Derby. His time at Pride Park came to an end following the club’s relegation to the Championship in 2002.