Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has claimed Tottenham Hotspur wanted to sign him while he was at West Ham United.
The enforcer has given an interview to Belgian publication DH, in which he was asked if he had any regrets in his career.
The ace, now at Crystal Palace after an £11 million transfer in 2018 (Guardian), revealed there was potential for him to have joined the north London club, but he ‘hesitated’.
He said: “Tottenham wanted to sign me. I was being pushed to go there, but I hesitated. Slaven Bilić was my manager and wanted to keep me at West Ham, who were offering me a great contract.
“We’d come out of a good season after often being in the relegation zone. I preferred to stay. I changed clubs a bit later. Maybe too late. I could tell that to young player: a big club doesn’t always come twice”.
It could be that Spurs’ apparent interest in the now 30-year-old was either in the summer of 2015 or 2016, with the Hammers having finished 12th and 7th in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons respectively.
Kouyate did often catch the eye in his earlier years at West Ham alongside Mark Noble, and it is interesting he might have become a Spurs player – although perhaps making a move to a rival had some bearing on the eventual non-move.
TBR’s View – Tottenham eventually got their midfield driving force
Kouyate had his reasons for not making the move, and it does sound like he regrets staying put at the time.
Tottenham fans are unlikely to have too many regrets – the summer of 2015 saw Dele Alli and Eric Dier join the club, and in 2016 along came Moussa Sissoko, who has eventually proven to be a really good signing.
The Frenchman’s signing potentially validates Kouyate’s claims, as the pair are similar players.
Kouyate may have proven a good acquisition by the north Londoners and could have hit a different level under Mauricio Pochettino, but it evidently just wasn’t to be.