No, it wasn't Hirst. Darko Pancev was one of the most prolific marksmen in Europe and would have been an attractive acquisition. No, not him either. Dennis Bergkamp was another of the continental hitmen who had been mentioned in the papers. "Nope," my pal retorted. "I'll give you a clue - he plays for Leeds."
I vividly remember my instant response. "Oh no, not Lee Chapman!" My heart sank. The blond battering ram had been the main target man for the champions and, while he often caused problems with his brawn and endeavour, he wasn't my idea of a star striker signing for United.
With a chuckle, my friend paused and then simply said: "Mr Flicky". This was a nickname he'd given Eric Cantona, the Gallic genius who had helped Leeds over the line in the last-ever title race of the old Division One as United imploded during a fixture pile-up. We'd had begrudging respect for his skills but from the admittedly limited highlights we'd seen, he seemed to overdo the backheels and flicks. More style than substance it was felt, rather enviously.
At the same friend's house, as I watched the Charity Shield on TV at the start of that very season with his father, I opined that he looks a great player this Eric Cantona but he doesn't seem to score too many goals. 90 minutes later and a man I would come to idolise had scored a hat-trick in the victory over Liverpool, proving I could never have a career in punditry.
This was exciting news. Genuinely exciting news. Immediately, my mind processed thoughts of how this technically gifted forward would fit into the United style and link with the existing stars. He'd been in trouble in France and had something of a reputation for being l'enfant terrible but what a bolt out of blue this was.
As I digested the information, I was asked if I felt he would turn out to be a good signing. "He'll either be a massive success or a huge failure," I proferred. "There will be no middle ground." Sensing I'd urged on the side of caution, I quickly made for the newsagents at the University and there