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Escaped the net - five players Tottenham narrowly missed out on

General view as Tottenham fans arrive for the match

Players from Liverpool and Chelsea appear alongside a former Brazilian international star, all who nearly made the move to Tottenham Hotspur according to reports at the time.

General view as Tottenham fans arrive for the matchTottenham have been linked to some big names over the years

Tottenham fans have seen their side linked with potential stars moving to White Hart Lane over the years, with some coming more close than others. It is part and parcel of the game to miss out on some of your transfer targets, but Spurs have had their fair share of bad luck with securing moves for players that have since gone on to have major success.

We take a look at five players that the club have missed out on in recent years. It is fair to say that these signings could have helped helped Tottenham on their way to securing the coveted Premier League crown.

Sadio Mane

Senegal forward Mane moved to Liverpool in the summer for £34 million (BBC Sport), making him the most expensive African player in history. The big money move came after an impressive two-year spell with Southampton.

He has carried on his form over to Anfield and has established himself as an integral part of Liverpool's side and has scored 13 goals from the right wing position. His season looks to have been cruelly ended early after suffering a serious looking knee injury in the Merseyside Derby earlier this month.

According to the Times, Mane visited Tottenham's training ground last summer to discuss a move to White Hart Lane. Despite boss Mauricio Pochettino being keen on signing the 25-year-old, talks ultimately broke down due to the club not willing to meet his high wage demands.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates after scoring their first goalLiverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates after scoring

Eden Hazard

Hazard has openly admitted himself that he came close to joining Spurs before making the move to Chelsea in 2012 (Mirror).

The Belgian international made the move to Stamford Bridge from French side Lille in a big money move but had it not been for Chelsea winning the Champions League, Hazard could have been playing his club football at White Hart Lane.

Harry Redknapp's Tottenham side had finished fourth in the Premier League to secure Champions League football in 2012, but Chelsea's European triumph meant that they took Spurs' qualifying from them and this proved to be crucial in Hazard's decision to snub Tottenham.

"It's true that Tottenham tempted me because it was a young team which was third in the league," Hazard told France Football, as translated by the Daily Mail.

"Unfortunately, the end of the season did not go well. They did not reach the Champions League, which tipped the balance."

The rest they say, is history.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring their second goalChelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring


This controversial transfer saw Willian move to Chelsea after hijacking Tottenham's bid to sign the Brazilian international from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, as reported by the Guardian.

The winger was in London undergoing a medical with Spurs ahead of a £30 million move to White Hart Lane before then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho convinced Blues owner Roman Abramovich to use his personal links to make a personal call to fellow Russian, Suleyman Kerimov, owner of Anzhi Makhachkala.

Tottenham were understandably outraged at the events that had unfolded with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy claiming that Chelsea had a vendetta against Spurs and that they did not truly want the player. Willian has since won a Premier League title with Chelsea and is on course for his second domestic success at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's Willian with fans during a lap of honour after the gameChelsea's Willian with fans during a lap of honour

Dimitri Payet

Payet could have been playing his football at Tottenham long before his impressive spell at West Ham United.

The French international had just made the move to St. Etienne in a €4 million move from Nantes in 2007. Former Spurs director Damien Comolli revealed that he is was dealt an interesting proposition from the St. Etienne owner after the move.

“When I was at Spurs the Saint-Etienne president telephoned me one day and said, ‘Listen, we’re on the point of signing this player, Dimitri Payet, from Nantes for €4million’,” Comolli said (Standard).

“That was an enormous amount of money for Saint-Etienne. He said, ‘I wondered if you’d be interested in buying him for Tottenham in two years’ time for €10million’.

“I said ‘yes’. I didn’t think the player was ready at that point to play for Tottenham but I thought that after two years at Saint-Etienne he would be ready — so I said it was something that I’d be interested in. As I left Tottenham and ended up at Saint-Etienne it never materialised. But back then Payet was already a player that I liked a lot, having seen him when he was young at Nantes.”

France's Dimitri Payet celebrates after the gameFrance's Dimitri Payet returned to France from West Ham in controversial circumstances


Tottenham Hotspur made a big effort to sign Rivaldo in 2002 and at this time he was still considered as one of the world's greatest footballers. 

He was available on a free transfer from Barcelona after finishing as a runner-up with Brazil in the 2002 World Cup. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy flew over to Spain to hold talks about a possible deal to bring him the Premier League.

So how close to Spurs actually get to signing the legendary Brazilian attacking midfielder? Very close, according to then manager Glenn Hoddle.

"We were close to getting him and I know that Daniel put in a supreme effort on our behalf," Hoddle told the Evening Standard, as reported by BBC Sport.

"We were pipped to the post but it shows we're going in the right direction. Unfortunately it didn't happen this time but the search goes on." 

He decided on a move to AC Milan instead and it was the usual story as Spurs were unable to compete with the money offered by the Italian giants.

"I was very excited about the possibility of playing for Spurs and in England. I would like to thank the club for their efforts in trying to sign me." Rivaldo said (Sky Sports).

Rivaldo scores for Brazil v England - 2002Rivaldo scores for Brazil in 2002 World Cup against England

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