Harry Redknapp has revealed that he desperately wanted to sign Eden Hazard for Tottenham and he would have set the club back just £16 million, but chairman Daniel Levy ‘wasn’t prepared to pay’ the asking price.
The then 21-year-old placed himself firmly on the map after a stellar 2011/12 campaign with Lille, in which he put up 20 goals and 18 assists.
Hazard, 30, who now plies his trade with Real Madrid after securing a move exceeding €100 million (£88m), allegedly came close to joining Tottenham from Lille in 2012, but signed for London rivals Chelsea instead.
Redknapp, who was Spurs’ manager during that time, took a keen interest in Hazard after keeping an eye on his performances, and was made to feel even more excited about him after speaking to Joe Cole, who gave his then-teammate impressive reviews.
The manager even met with the winger and his agent and convinced him to make the move to North London almost a decade ago.
Redknapp admitted on BBC’s Sacked in the Morning podcast: “Eden Hazard was the one I really wanted badly when I was at Tottenham.
“Joe Cole rang me, he was at Lille and he said, ‘[Hazard] is the best player I’ve ever played with, he’s just incredible’. I said, ‘Joe, you’ve played with some good players at West Ham, Chelsea’.
“So I went over there [to France] and watched him and he was fantastic. I met him in a hotel room with his agent. He was keen to come to Tottenham.”
Although Hazard appeared to be convinced of securing a move to N17, Redknapp has since revealed that a move was ultimately scuppered due to chairman Levy being unwilling to pay the asking price to secure his transfer.
“At the time, Daniel [Levy] wasn’t prepared to pay,” Redknapp added. “I think he was about £16 million at the time but Daniel wasn’t prepared to pay the money. I would have loved to have him.
“In that spell, when he went to Chelsea, he was a fantastic player.”