By Harry Sykes
Tottenham blocked the transfer of academy product Nya Kirby to Chelsea amid fury at the antics of the west London club, according to a report.
The Times claim the north Londoners “threatened to report their London rivals for tapping up” Kirby after learning of his plan to move to Stamford Bridge.
It is said that Chelsea “subsequently backed off and cancelled the transfer” to avoid being reported to the Premier League for making an illegal approach.
Kirby, who is aged 16 and plays in midfield, made the decision to leave Tottenham in the summer after his head was turned by interest from elsewhere.
Spurs chiefs were reportedly told that Kirby wanted to leave amid supposed interest from Liverpool and Manchester United but came to the conclusion that a deal had already been agreed for the youngster to join Chelsea.
However, Tottenham’s tapping-up threat forced Chelsea to pull out of the transfer and Kirby was left without a club.
The teenager was handed a trial by Arsenal before Crystal Palace applied to the Premier League to register him last month.
The row further increases the bad blood between historically bitter rivals Tottenham and Chelsea.
Spurs recently questioned the dual role of Chelsea coach Steve Holland in the senior England set-up amid fears he could have access to information about their players’ fitness and medical records.
Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1 in the Premier League last Saturday to maintain their excellent record against the north London outfit.
Football Insider verdict
Competition between the leading clubs for the best young home-grown talent is fiercer than it has ever been, despite the riches swishing around the upper echelons of the sport. The Premier League elite know they can save themselves multiple millions of pounds if they snap up the best young players and a great deal of time, effort and resources is spent on doing so. Tottenham have earned a reputation for punching above their weight at academy level in recent years, with Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Tom Carroll, Harry Winks and Josh Onomah among those who have progressed directly from the youth team into the senior side. By contrast, Chelsea have struggled badly to provide a pathway from the academy into their first team and have a reputation for their aggressive approach to youth recruitment. Poaching players from rivals is nothing new, and it is a sign of the animosity between the two clubs that a 16-year-old has caused such friction at executive level.
In other Tottenham transfer news, Alan Shearer lays into four Spurs senior players.