Former Southampton and Premier League great Matthew Le Tissier has opened up on the time that he once held talks with Tottenham and came close to signing for the North London outfit, before eventually changing his mind.
21-year-old Le Tissier, who ended being named PFA Player of the Year in the 1989-1990 campaign after scoring 20 league goals as the Saints finished 7th in the First Division, but life could have been so different for the attacking midfielder – and he reveals how he met with Spurs prior to that season, without speaking to manager Terry Venables.
Le Tissier is known as one of England’s most talented footballers, but surprisingly earned just eight Three Lions caps and ended up staying with the Southampton throughout the entirety of his 16-year playing career, despite plenty of interest from some of the countries best clubs.
One of those sides was Tottenham, and Le Tissier tells the story of exactly what happened.
In a recent interview, Le Tissier told Sporting Life: “I came very close to joining Tottenham when I was 21, the season I won the PFA Young Player of the Year award. I was about to be married at the end of the season.
“For varying reasons I changed my mind, as I told Tottenham I was going to join them initially – it wasn’t the right time at that point.
“Tottenham were the only one who I ever spoke to, in terms of speaking to their advisors and legal team. I did not speak to Terry Venables at the time. Although he did want to speak to me, but I refused.
“The same thing happened with Glenn Hoddle at Chelsea in 1985. Given they both went on to become England managers, it was not probably the best career choice! My agent told me he had been in contact with Chelsea, Liverpool and Monaco around the same time as Tottenham too.
“There was always speculation, but Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea are the ones which my agent spoke to me about. You read the speculation – Blackburn and Newcastle were also sniffing around. Rumours were aplenty that I had been spotted here there and everywhere, flying up to Newcastle and back to Southampton in the same day. There were interesting theories flying around at that point.
“Most of it was speculation, and to be honest it never affected me. I took it for what it was. I knew if there was any serious interest, I would get a call from my agent.
“It is quite flattering to read in the papers, and it is good for your ego and confidence, but I always took it with a pinch of salt.”