Manager was in disbelief over Tottenham’s £5m bid for midfielder back in 2000

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Daniel Levy has run a very tight ship at Tottenham for a number of years now and the chairman is usually cautious when it comes to splashing the cash on players.

The Lilywhites very rarely pay over the odds in the transfer market, with Levy’s tactics often being to push deals towards the end of the window in order to save money.

However, before ENIC bought majority stakes at the club almost twenty years ago, the club was known to be wasteful at times in the market under Alan Sugar.

Former Leicester City captain, Matt Elliott, has now revealed a story from two decades ago that personifies the imprudent attitude in which Spurs once approached some transfers.

Elliott claimed that Tottenham made a £5 million bid for him in the summer of 2000, which was big money back in those days. He insisted that the bid was such an over-estimation of his value that even the then Leicester City boss, Martin O’Neill, was in complete disbelief.

Speaking on the Matt Piper Positive Vibes podcast (as relayed by Leicester Mercury), Elliot said: “I was training one day and I got the shout from Martin O’Neill to go and see him in his office.

“I thought: ‘Oof, what’s happened here? What I have done wrong?’ It was running through my head all things I could be in trouble for.

“As usual, Martin’s quite intimidating. He said: ‘Matty, I’ve just had a phone call from George Graham at Tottenham Hotspur, they’ve offered £5m for you. They want you to go down there this afternoon.’

“And £5m was quite a lot then, and I said: ‘Bloody hell, gaffer, I don’t believe that.’ He leaned across and went: ‘No, neither do I.’

“I was like: ‘Cheers, gaffer, thanks for that.’ It was true, but he just couldn’t believe the amount that had been offered.

“He said: ‘You can be on the next train down there if that’s what you want to do.’ I went: ‘Woah, hang on, gaffer, I’m happy here, I’m having the time of my life at Leicester. I want to think about it.’

“I didn’t want to go, and he said; ‘That’s what I wanted to hear.’ I ended up signing a new contract not long after.”

Spurs Web Opinion

We were just stockpiling journeymen in our squad through the nineties and the early 2000s. It is a good thing that Elliot rejected the chance to move to North London as he would have been another among a long list of average players that we bought in for big money. For all of Daniel Levy’s faults, those who remember how poorly run we were in the nineties will certainly recognize how far we’ve come as a club under ENIC’s ownership.

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