Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has revealed that the North London outfit made concerted efforts to sign Eden Hazard before he joined Premier League rivals Chelsea.
The Belgium international moved to Stamford Bridge in 2012 from French club Lille and has developed into one of the most scintillating players in English football.
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However, the story could have been different if Redknapp and Spurs had their way, with the White Hart Lane outfit meeting with Hazard to try and convince him to join them.
But, when Chelsea entered the fray, the winger opted for a move to Stamford Bridge instead.
“I went to Lille to watch Eden Hazard three times when I was Tottenham manager,” Redknapp wrote in his new book, quoted by The Daily Star.
“And, although we spent several hours speaking to him at a hotel in Paris, it was mega money and we could not quite persuade him once Chelsea reached the Champions League – by somehow beating Barcelona and Bayern Munich to win it in 2012.
“You could immediately see that there was something special about him and, as a winger, he is almost a throwback in many ways.
“He has that ability to go from standing still to suddenly accelerating, which is something that is quire rare, but which a lot of the best wingers could do.
“He reminded me a little bit of the great Jimmy Johnstone at Celtic.
“Like Jimmy, Hazard would also slow people down but still keep the ball and then suddenly go and leave the full-back for dead.
“We had no doubts that he could develop into one of the world’s best players.”
Tottenham had a similar dynamic when trying to sign Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk, with the Blues coming in for the Brazil international at the 11th hour to snatch him away from them.
Spurs face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend in what should be a high-quality encounter, with memories of Hazard scoring a late equaliser for the hosts at the end of last season still fresh in the memory.