Current Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Reknapp has revealed in his new book that he almost landed Patrick Vieira and Luis Suarez during his stint as Tottenham Hotspur manager.
Harry Redknapp, who famously took umbrage at a Sky Sports reporter for suggesting he was a wheeler dealer, has been lifting the lid on some of the deals he was involved with that never quite came to fruition.
The veteran coach’s new book, A Man Walks On To a Pitch, has come out and it contains revelations that will interest Tottenham Hotspur fans. Chief among them is Redknapp’s claim that Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira was on the verge of moving to White Hart Lane when he was boss there back in 2009.
It would have been a highly controversial move as the Frenchman had enjoyed nine magnificent seasons with Spurs’ bitter rivals Arsenal before moving to Serie A in 2005. Redknapp admits he was astonished that Vieira could even consider such a move, but respected his gall nonetheless.
“He almost came to me at Tottenham from Inter Milan. I thought it was an incredible decision by him, after he’d been such a hero at Arsenal. I met him at his house in Hampstead and he had no fear about what people would think or what reception he would get. He had enough confidence in his ability to just brush it away.
“I remember talking to Daniel Levy, our chairman, about him. He said the crowd would be hostile. I knew that — but if he had enough bottle to want to put on our white shirt after all that had gone before, I thought it said something about the man.”
The deal did not go through in the end however as the current QPR boss explained that Spurs’ situation had changed when the midfielder finally became available and Manchester City stepped in to sign him.
The Londoner also talks about his regret at missing the opportunity to sign Uruguayan ace Luis Suarez. Dutch legend Ruud Gullit had urged Redknapp to snap him up, but the Spurs boss delayed too long and the price had gone up. He admits in the book:
“Despite all that has happened in his career since, one of the biggest regrets of my life in management is not taking Luis Suarez to Tottenham when we had the chance. “You’ve got to take him, Harry,” Ruud Gullit told me. “He’s fantastic”. Yet all of our scouts’ reports said that at Ajax he played wide off a striker, whereas we were looking for a proper front man.
“Just when I was on the verge of taking the plunge, the price went up. In the end he was sold for £22.8m to Liverpool. We wouldn’t have paid that.”
Dan O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.