A stipulation in Jose Mourinho's Chelsea pay-off reportedly blocked Tottenham's attempts to hire him in 2007, report The Sun.
The paper quote former Spurs technical director Damien Comolli, who says chairman Daniel Levy sanctioned a decision to try to recruit the would-be Inter and Real Madrid boss after he left Chelsea.
Yet they did not even get as far as the negotiating table, it is claimed.
The report quote Comolli: "The day we heard he was leaving Chelsea, I spoke to our chairman about the situation and we agreed this was an opportunity that was too big to be missed.
"It was agreed that I would get in touch, so I contacted his agent Jorge Mendes and sounded him out to see if it would be a possibility — even though we had Martin Jol at the time. Contrary to what Jose has been implying, we felt there was a genuine interest.
"But Chelsea made sure that he couldn’t join another English club by putting in certain clauses into his departure package, so in the end it didn’t happen."
Whether Mourinho really would have considered another Premier League side is open to debate, but Tottenham's commitment to Martin Jol didn't last long regardless.
He was replaced by Juande Ramos, who himself was fired a year later, despite defeating Chelsea in the League Cup final, before Harry Redknapp took the reins. Spurs would later replace him with Mourinho's former assistant, Andre Villas-Boas.
The 'Special One' meanwhile went onto win the Champions League with Inter as part of a treble with the league and cup in Italy, and a La Liga title and Copa del Rey with Real Madrid in La Liga.