Ex-Real Madrid, West Ham and Kilmarnock utility man Julien Faubert has recalled how close he was to completing a big-money move to Rangers. And how he stopped negotiations to make the switch to the Premier League.
The 36-year-old was a highly-rated right-back and sometimes winger for Ligue 1 side Bordeaux when, in the summer of 2007, he was on the verge of moving to Ibrox for a reported £4.3million to play under Walter Smith.
At the time he was a French international, playing and scoring in his only match, a substitute appearance against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The move was thwarted when West Ham United swooped in when negotiations were at an advanced stage.
Faubert told The Athletic how the move to Rangers was stopped so he could fulfil his “dream” of playing in the Premier League with the Hammers signing him for £6.1million.
“I almost signed for Rangers,” he said. “We were sitting around the table and ready to complete the deal. Then my manager asked me to leave the room and said a Premier League team want to sign me and straight away I asked him, ‘OK, can we do something to go there and stop what we’re doing here?’ He said yes and then we stopped the negotiations and met the people from West Ham.
“We travelled to Aix-en-Provence, which is in the south of France, and we were sitting and the secretary from West Ham was ready for us to sign the contract. I liked the way they approached me because they said they saw me play a lot of games for the under-21s and Alan Curbishley really wanted me to join. He spoke to me on the phone and my English was rubbish but I just knew it was the right club for me. Looking back now it was one of the best decisions in my life.”
Faubert, who would move on loan to Real Madrid in 2009, eventually ended up in Scotland, joining Kilmarnock in 2016.
During his time in Scotland he admitted that one aspect of turning down Rangers he regretted was not being able to play in an Old Firm match.