Manager claims Spurs ‘almost’ signed player with 30 goals and assists this season

Former Rubin Kazan manager Leonid Slutsky has revealed that Tottenham had almost wrapped up a deal for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia prior to his move to Napoli.

While it was under Slutsky at Rubin Kazan that Kvaratskhelia first hit the limelight, the winger has exceeded all expectations since his switch to Naples last summer.

Daniel Levy
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The 22-year-old has scored 14 goals and provided 16 assists across all competitions in his first season in Italy and his performances have been a key reason why Napoli are on the verge of winning the Scudetto.

Slutsky insisted that Kvaratskhelia’s outstanding displays in the Serie A this season come as no surprise to anyone involved in Russian football.

He told Sky Sports about the winger: “What he is doing is not a surprise to me.

“Nobody knew about him before he came to Italy and that is understandable because the Russian league is not a popular league around Europe.

“But everybody in Russia knew. His quality, his position in world football now, that is not a surprise to any of us.

“I congratulate Napoli because they won the lottery. For next to nothing they have a £100m player.”

Slutsky revealed that Kvaratskhelia could have easily been wearing a Spurs shirt if things had gone a little differently.

He added: “A year ago, there was very serious interest from Tottenham. It was almost a done deal.”

However, Spurs could be forgiven for having some doubts over the Georgian as his goal return in Russian football was nowhere close to what he has produced since his switch to Italy.

Slutsky believes that the silky dribbler was always going to get better when he played around better players.

The 51-year-old remarked: “He had the same quality, the same style of play. But we have a phrase in Russia. If a bad player moves to a good team, he can become a good player.

“If a good player moves to a bad team, he can become a bad player. If you start playing at a different level in Serie A, that is going to help your development.

“Kvara already had the quality but he has since improved his qualities in a big team like Napoli that is contending for major titles.

“The other players around him, the coaches, the level of the league, all that has helped to make him stronger and stronger.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Kvaratskhelia will undoubtedly go down as another big ‘what if’ moment for Spurs, much like the North London club’s failed moves for Luis Suarez and Jack Grealish in the past.

The Georgian looks set to evolve into one of the best attackers in world football but in fairness to the Tottenham hierarchy, almost none of Europe’s elite clubs envisaged that the 22-year-old would be able to have this sort of impact, given the unimpressive numbers he was posting in Russia.

Keep up to date with all the latest Tottenham news and opinion by following SpursWeb’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Related Topics
Have something to tell us about this article? Let us know