Paulo Dybala, Rivaldo, Eden Hazard, and seven other players Spurs failed to sign

9 Aug

Paulo Dybala could have been lining up for Tottenham against Aston Villa this weekend.

Spurs had agreed a £64.4million fee with Juventus for the Argentina international earlier this week.

Paulo Dybala was close to joining Tottenham

However, on transfer deadline day, Juve pulled the plug on a potential deal, opting to keep the forward.

Tottenham are no strangers to narrowly missing out on transfers.

Below, looks at how agonisingly close Spurs have come to signings in the past.

Mario Kempes

15. Mario Kempes – he loved short shorts
Mario Kempes scored 20 goals for Argentina

Tottenham boss Peter Shreeves reportedly turned down the chance to sign Kempes, a World Cup and Golden Boot winner, in 1984.

The former Argentina striker played in two pre-season games, but failed to score in both, despite one being a 7-0 against Enfield Town.

He ended up signing for Spanish club Hercules.


Rivaldo could have played at White Hart Lane

The former Brazil and Barcelona superstar came very close to joining Tottenham in 2002, according to Hoddle.

He said: “We were so close to getting Rivaldo. Milan pushed the boat out and pushed the money up to extortionate levels.

“Other than that we were pipped at the post – he was coming here. To be fair to the lad he showed a touch of class, I’ve never known it before, he sent a terrific letter explaining why he opted for Milan. I’ve never had that before from a player I’ve missed out on.

“It was a touch of class from him and his agent saying that he would have come but, in the end, Milan proved to be place where he felt it was right – whether it was financial or not.

“At the end of the day, really, they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”


Diego played for Werder Bremen between 2006 and 2009

Diego, who was a Brazil international by the age of 18, played alongside Robinho at Santos before joining Porto in 2004.

Tottenham had a £5.6m bid rejected by Santos the previous summer and pulled out of further talks due to complications with his passport.


 Raul (Spent part of youth career at Atletico Madrid)
Raul is a Real Madrid legend

After ending his 16-year spell at Real Madrid, Raul was in high demand.

The Spaniard scored 228 league goals for the LaLiga giants and it would have been a major coup for Tottenham if he had moved to White Hart Lane.

And after publicly saying ‘my future lies in Germany or England’, Raul joined Bundesliga club Schalke.

Charlie Adam

Adam was a star performer for Blackpool, but could not fire them to Premier League survival

Harry Redknapp revealed Tottenham missed out on Charlie Adam ‘by minutes’ on January transfer deadline day in 2011.

He said: “Adam would have been a good player for us if we could have got him, but it was a bit late.

“It was impossible to get the paperwork done.”

Despite scoring 12 goals and registering eight assists, his impressive form could not prevent Blackpool’s relegation from the Premier League.

Adam joined Liverpool ahead of the 2011/12 season.


Willian has been linked with a move to Barcelona over the past year

Willian was on his way for a medical at Tottenham after agreeing a big-money move from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013.

However, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea infamously hijacked the transfer at the last minute.

Speaking about the transfer saga, Willian said: “We’re going in the van, on the way, we get to the training centre, Kia, my agent, is already down there, waiting.

“I thought it was weird, he was already at the door. Then I got out of the van, he said, ‘we have problems’. I said ‘oh, what happened?’ Then he said ‘Chelsea made an offer’.

“I said, ‘So make do, I’ll get back in the van, you’ll make do and I’ll go to Chelsea, I will not sign with Tottenham.’”

Joao Moutinho

Joao Moutinho has been a revelation at Wolves

Moutinho has said in the past he was ‘minutes’ away from signing for Tottenham in August 2012.

Spurs had agreed a £24m deal with Porto, but the necessary paperwork was not submitted to the Premier League in time.

He joined Monaco for a similar fee a year later.

Moutinho said: “It’s true I was a few minutes from signing for Spurs.”

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Chelsea

Hazard earned a dream move to Real Madrid earlier this summer after starring for Chelsea for seven years.

But it could have been a different route for the Belgium captain.

Hazard revealed Champions League football played a major part in choosing Chelsea over Tottenham.

He said: “It’s true that Tottenham tempted me because it was a young team which was third in the league.

“Unfortunately, the end of the season did not go well. They did not reach the Champions League, which tipped the balance.”

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish will captain Aston Villa in the Premier League

Grealish was ’95 per cent sure’ he was going to be a Tottenham player last summer.

Tottenham were linked with the Aston Villa captain throughout the transfer window, but failed to land him.

Grealish said: “At Hull, I was 95 per cent sure it was going to be my last game. I waved to the fans when I got taken off as I thought I was going.

“Even on the Thursday morning of the transfer window, I thought I was leaving. Before the new owners [arrived], Villa needed the money so I kind of accepted that me going would save the club.

“I think the fans would have taken that, too, because we needed the money.”

The coolest footballers of all time, including Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso, Dimitar Berbatov and Eric Cantona

25 Dec

No one really knows what cool is, but these footballers have got it. At least they do, according to

Andrea Pirlo definitely had it, judging by the meltdown some fans had when he announced his decision to retire from playing football in 2017.

Andrea Pirlo just reading about how great Andrea Pirlo is

Many players are criticised for being too bland, but it’s unfair to tar everyone with this brush.

This lot entertained us and did things their way while representing the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and West Ham.

And not one of them, to our knowledge, has ever been spotted donning socks with sandals or wearing Crocs on their feet.

16. Pep Guardiola – the son of Cruyff – scroll through the gallery to see the coolest footballers in the world
16. Pep Guardiola – the son of Cruyff – scroll through the gallery to see the coolest footballers in the world – There are not too many people who can make the defensive midfield role cool. David Batty didn't – he should have – but Pep did.
15. Mario Kempes – he loved short shorts
15. Mario Kempes – he loved short shorts – Socks rolled down, long-flowing locks and a World Cup winner: Kempes was the frontman of Argentina's rock star footballers.
14. Paul McGregor – the frontman who was actually a frontman
14. Paul McGregor – the frontman who was actually a frontman – McGregor was dubbed the first 'Britpop footballer' in the mid-1990s, when he was playing for Forest in the Premier League. Around the time his goal sent the Tricky Trees into a 1996 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Bayern Munich, he was also playing gigs as frontman of Britpop band Merc. He later quit football to form post-punk band Ulterior, whose approach to entertaining the audience at gigs has been described by McGregor as "we don't care, you're having this".
13. Slaven Bilic – Croatia's defensive rock
13. Slaven Bilic – Croatia's defensive rock – A law graduate and key part of a football hipster's wet dream – the magnificent 1998 Croatia side – when he wasn't pissing off the French at the 1998 World Cup, Bilic loved to rock. So much so, that he once refused to go and get his man of the match champagne at West Ham until he'd met Iron Maiden guitarist Steve Harris – a big Hammers fan – after hearing the metal legend was backstage at Upton Park.
12. Paul Breitner – rebel without a razor
12. Paul Breitner – rebel without a razor – Who leaves Real Madrid for Eintracht Braunschweig? Paul Breitner. Who can make lederhosen look cool? Paul Breitner. With his curly mop and sixth form politics, back in the '70s World Cup winner Breitner was like a much cooler Russell Brand. Much cooler. And his nickname was 'Der Afro'.
11. Craig Johnston – was very big Down Under but his wife disagreed
11. Craig Johnston – was very big Down Under but his wife disagreed – Why Johnston's life story has not been made into a film, we do not know. Nearly lost his leg as a kid, travelled across the world from Australia as a 15-year-old with a dream of playing football, became a pro through sheer will power, ended up winning the lot with Liverpool, wrote a number three single, before retiring from the game aged 28 to look after his seriously ill sister. Then he invented the Adidas Predator. What a guy.
10. Socrates – philosophy footballer
10. Socrates – philosophy footballer – Socrates stood out in an era of brilliant Brazilians and even delayed his international career to qualify as a doctor. His hero was John Lennon, not Pele, and he campaigned for democracy in his home country. Rocked up at non-league Garforth Town in 2004, aged 50, and showed Tadcaster Albion of the Northern Counties East Football League how it's done. And just look at that headband!
9. Johan Cruyff – total football, total legend
9. Johan Cruyff – total football, total legend – Bucked the trend for shirt numbers being 1-11 when he donned no.14. Cruyff's power also saw the Dutch FA allow him to play for the national side with just two stripes on his kit, rather than Adidas' three, due to his personal sponsorship with Puma. So cool he 'won' the World Cup in 1974, even though the Netherlands lost.
8. Robin Friday – the best footballer you never saw
8. Robin Friday – the best footballer you never saw – Cardiff City and Reading may sound unlikely locations for football greats, but Friday has become a cult figure. His iconic 'V' sign gesture towards Luton goalkeeper Milija Aleksic was used by the Super Furry Animals' for the cover of their single 'The Man Don't Give a F***' and his career and antics are the subject of a book, above, that's set to become a film. Friday died when he was just 38 in 1990, but the legend lives on.
7. Dimitar Berbatov – Andy Garcia WISHES he was him
7. Dimitar Berbatov – Andy Garcia WISHES he was him – Keep calm and pass him the ball because he is far too important to exert himself by running after it himself. Here is a player with true elegance. “When someone has great qualities sometimes they don't have to put much effort into things. Sometimes the things I do look effortless but it's not like that. It's very difficult, but because of my style of play I make it look easy." In other words, the things other footballers find hard to execute are no problem for him.
6. Xabi Alonso – Winning at life
6. Xabi Alonso – Winning at life – Listens to Pavement, watches The Big Lebowski, wins at everything, mostly life.
5. Gunter Netzer – friend to the Sinatras and a bloody good player
5. Gunter Netzer – friend to the Sinatras and a bloody good player – “I understand that I must run, but I do so reluctantly, at least, without the ball”. Netzer was a stylish and unconventional footballer, who lit up football in the 1960s and 70s. He could change the pace of a game with his passing and awareness, was twice a league winner with Borussia Monchengladbach and Real Madrid as well as a European and world champion with Germany. Away from football he ran a nightclub called Lovers’ Lane, but never drank alcohol, while he was also invited to Tina Sinatra’s Las Vegas wedding in 1976.
4. Andrea Pirlo – he thinks, therefore he is cool
4. Andrea Pirlo – he thinks, therefore he is cool – He was only capable of scoring beautiful goals and looked effortless when he did it. Based on his playing style, he was one of the coolest players in recent times. He even owns a vineyard.
3. Diego Maradona – you had to hand it to him
3. Diego Maradona – you had to hand it to him – Diego Armando Maradona is the most entertaining footballer ever; a genius who fulfilled his incredible potential, yet somehow managed to remain an outsider. His greatness has inspired a religion where, on 30 October – his birthday – fans worship at the Maradonian Church in Argentina. Amen.
2. George Best – the good, the bad and the bubbly!
2. George Best – the good, the bad and the bubbly! – "I used to go missing a lot: Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World…" Ladies and gents, Mr George Best. It was awful to see someone considered one of the world’s greatest ever players sink into alcoholism, but what a life this man led. Among his achievements – European Cup winner, league title winner, Ballon d’Or winner, Man United’s top scorer in four seasons – he also owned fashion boutiques, nightclubs and even had an airport named in his honour.
1. Eric Cantona – the collar... the king fu kick... the King
1. Eric Cantona – the collar… the king fu kick… the King – The only player who was ever in charge of Alex Ferguson, we'll leave it to his slightly less cool team-mate, Gary Neville, to explain why Cantona was the King. "Eric did things his way and no one interfered, not even the manager. When we all turned up at a civic event at Manchester Town Hall to celebrate the double, Eric wandered in wearing a denim jacket instead of a blazer. We looked him up and down and wondered how the boss would react when he arrived. Surely he’d go berserk. The press were there and all sorts of VIPs. But the manager just shook his head and smiled. ‘Eh, lads,’ he said. ‘Some man, that Cantona.’”