Ex-international: Martin O'Neill couldn't believe Tottenham offered this huge fee
By Harvey Byrne
Ex-Scotland international Matt Elliott has revealed former boss Martin O’Neill couldn’t believe Tottenham once offered £5million for his services.
The now retired 44-year-old was speaking on Sky Sports’ Fantasy Football show on Friday evening and shared a story when O’Neill called him into his offices at Leicester to share that the north London club had offered £5million for him.
Now, Elliott was at Leicester between 1997 and 2005 when the British transfer record at the time was Alan Shearer moving to Newcastle for £15million in 1996, which followed on from the £8.5million Liverpool had used to sign Stan Collymore a year earlier.
Back then £5million was considered a huge amount of money and Elliott has told that current Republic of Ireland boss O’Neill couldn’t believe what was being offered.
“Only very slightly,” told Elliott on Sky Sports’ Fantasy Football show when asked if he was tempted to join Tottenham.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“Probably surprising in most peoples eyes. I hadn’t long been at Leicester and I remember getting pulled off the training ground. Martin O’Neil pulled me into the office and he said ‘sit down’. I was like ‘what’s up?’ I thought I was in trouble or something and he said ‘I’ve just had a phone call from George Graham and he’s offered £5million for you to go to Tottenham.
“I said to him ‘I can’t believe that’ and Martin went ‘no neither can I’.”
— PL Predictions (@SkySportsPLP) April 7, 2017
Tottenham’s own transfer record around that time stood at £11million to bring in Sergei Rebrov from Dynamo Kiev in the summer of 2000.
The Ukrainian returned just 10 goals in 60 outings for the club during his four years in north London and Spurs have since made a number of other questionable big money signings, including Moussa Sissoko, Roberto Soldado and David Bentley.
With the money ever increasing in football it is likely Tottenham will continue to break their transfer records, but many will now be hoping the next one has a more successful career at the club.
In other Tottenham news, Mauricio Pochettino has brought Spurs’ latest star back down to earth.