Max Gradel has been speaking to France Football about his career, and a big section of the interview covered him almost becoming a PSG player, on more than one occasion.
The former Leeds United striker first had the chance to sign for the Parisians after undergoing a trial with the club, and he thought he’d done enough to secure a chance, before being brought crashing back down to earth.
“A special memory,” Gradel told France Football. “I was doing a test at PSG. After ten minutes, after a good performance… the recruiter calls me, asks me my details and said: ‘There is no point in finishing the match, what you showed is conclusive.’
“I am happy! In the end, when the selected players are summoned, my name is not mentioned. The recruiter tells me: ‘It’s democracy. I voted for you, but others decided otherwise.’
“I was very upset. If I had been allowed to finish the match, maybe the other recruiters would have seen my qualities. I was bitter.”
Then there was to be another close call. Moving to Leeds United, initially on loan, from Leicester City in 2009, Gradel had impressed for the club at a time when PSG weren’t quite what they are now, but the club’s takeover ruined things: “And then, in 2011, after my good season in Leeds, Alain Roche contacted me, but at the last moment it did not happen because the Qataris arrived. They canceled all the (scouting and transfer) files. So, when I play Paris, I do not hate, but I want to show them the player that I am.”
Gradel, now 30 years of age, is currently playing for Toulouse and has three assists and three goals in 10 Ligue 1 matches so far this season.
Joining the club permanently in the summer, Gradel has a contract until June 2021 and a return to Leeds United, which has been suggested several times, is looking less likely.