Asmir Begovic has revealed that he snubbed a move to Tottenham in favour of joining Stoke City back in 2010 after he had already completed a medical at the North London club.
Spurs famously missed out on Willian after the Brazilian had passed a medical at Hotspur Way, with Chelsea swooping for him in the last minute back in the summer of 2013 (Guardian).
Tottenham themselves were beneficiaries of Arnaut Dajnuma changing his mind at the last moment, with the forward stopping one step short of signing for Everton after completing all the formalities at Goodison Park last month (The Athletic).
Begovic has now revealed that his story was quite similar as Portsmouth had accepted an offer from Spurs to sign him and Younes Kaboul in a package deal.
However, the Bosnian explained that he was not all that enthusiastic about the move as he had concerns over getting regular game time with the Lilywhites.
The 35-year-old told BBC’s A Cold Wet Tuesday Night podcast: “At the beginning of January 2010 there was all that talk about Portsmouth’s sellable assets and I was one of them along with Younes Kaboul.
“There were probably two or three of us they are going to fetch any money on. But January is going and I’m still there, playing in the cup and everything and then we get to the last week of the window.
“It’s a Thursday, I believe, and we’ve got a team lunch after training and I get a phone call. ‘As, you and Younes Kaboul have been sold to Spurs. It’s a package deal. You’re supposed to be at Spurs Lodge tomorrow for a medical.
“At that time I was on a very low salary. We’d just had our first child, we were getting paid late, first house. I was thinking for the security of my family I need to take this. I don’t know what the contract is going to be but it’s going to be better than what I’m on. I’ll let my agent do all that.
“I drove up that night, report to Spurs Lodge that Friday morning and it’s a long medical. Spurs are known for their long medicals and I’m in an MRI machine for three hours, then I have to go to another doctor to do all my heart scans.
“Then in the afternoon as I’m heading for the third part of the medical with Mohamed Al-Fayed’s private doctor, who Daniel Levy knew, I get a call from my agent.
“He was saying, ‘As, where are you? I need to meet you.’ He was supposed to be with me in the morning but there was no point, I was so busy, so we were going to catch up in the evening anyway. ‘Lot of stuff going on, we need to catch up.’
“I do the third part of the medical then we go to a local hotel and he says, ‘Stoke have come in for you.’ Ok. Tony Pulis, (coach) Mark O’Connor, everyone at the club, this was serious. They were giving me a contract that was four or five times what I was earning.
“‘They really see you as the next big thing, the next number one.’ I knew Thomas Sorensen was at the club but coming to compete and hopefully, eventually take over.
“That sounded great because I didn’t really want to go to Spurs. I didn’t see it as my next move. I was happy playing every week and I thought that was best for my development.
“Going to Spurs, Gomes was there, when am I going to play? Are they going to bring in someone else in the summer? You never know. This is a great deal for them, package deal with Younes Kaboul, but is it right for me?
“I was thinking the Stoke thing is much better. I remember saying to my agent that I was going to have to go home and think about it. I’m not sure Spurs is the right thing. They’re expecting me back at Spurs Lodge in the morning to sign a contract and I don’t even know what the contract is.”
Begovic revealed that Daniel Levy was left irate when he decided to move to Stoke instead of Spurs.
He continued: “I spoke to my family and then really wanted to pursue Stoke. It was about a fee of £3.25m, nothing major, and I wanted to go but for some reason Pompey wanted me to go to Spurs.
“The weekend goes, it’s a Monday 5 pm deadline and I was begging Pompey to take the money and let me go to Stoke knowing full well they had to sell.
“It got to Monday and Daniel Levy is fuming. He was speaking to my agent saying he’d paid for my medical, ‘I want my money back!’ But this happens.
“By 4 pm on Monday, I’m in my agent’s office in London and Pompey finally accept Stoke’s bid and I was a Stoke player that afternoon. That was the start of that chapter.”
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Begovic’s decision proved to be the right one as he ended up being Stoke’s number one for six seasons. He was was extremely unlikely to win the number one shirt at Spurs from Heurelho Gomes as the Bosnian had not really established himself as a consistent performer in the top flight at the time.
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