18-year-old opens up on turning down move to Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Anouar Ait El Hadj has now opened up on claims that he turned down a move to Tottenham Hotspur when he was just 15-years-old.

Now 18, El Hadj has broken into the Anderlecht first-team and is featuring regularly in Belgium, hinting that he was correct to turn down the North London move three years ago.

Het Nieuwsblad reported earlier this week that El Hadj declined a chance to join Tottenham at age 15 because his father thought it was too early for such a move (as relayed by Sport Witness).

The report went as far to say that Spurs tabled a proposal for El Hadj and his team but it was decided that there was more growing for him to do at his current club.

The midfield man has now recorded 21 appearances and three goals for Anderlecht under Vincent Kompany (TransferMarkt).

El Hadj has now opened up on the situation himself, confirming that he did indeed turn down a move to Tottenham, claiming that his father has been an excellent counsellor.

He said (Het Nieuwsblad as relayed by Sport Witness): “My dad was always my great counsellor. He went to every foreign match. Even when we played a friendly in Poland, he was the only parent present.

“When Tottenham inquired, my father thought that step [was] too soon. He said: ‘Anderlecht is a big club and a nice showcase.

“First prove yourself close to your family here. Relax.’ Only when I excelled at the U19 Aegon tournament in Amsterdam, I believed that I could become a professional.

“Before that, there were sometimes discussions about my height. I only measure 1.68m. When they pointed this out to me, I have been exercising to get stronger and I was always biting through.

“Being small is okay if you show more drive than your opponent. Although I do hope that I will grow a bit.

“On corners, I often get the task of the A-team to cover and mark great men like Onuachu or Kossounou. Those guys are often in shock when they see me coming. It also looks silly.”

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