Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has recalled a time towards the end of his playing days when conversations were held over a potential shock transfer to Tottenham.
The Eagles will host Spurs at Selhurst Park on Saturday and the 45-year-old’s past rivalry with the north London club has dominated the build-up.
Vieira spent nine years with Tottenham’s arch-rivals Arsenal and helped the Gunners clinch the Premier League title at White Hart Lane in 2004 but five years later talks took place with Harry Redknapp – who was in charge of Spurs at the time – over a sensational switch from Inter Milan.
“It is too far and a long time ago. I don’t remember,” the Eagles head coach said with a smile.
“No, that was a period where I really wanted to come back to the Premier League.
“Knowing Harry quite well and admiring him as a manager, we had a conversation about different options but at the end there was no chance of me coming to England and going to Spurs, no chance.”
Ahead of the lunchtime kick-off, the ex-Arsenal captain was asked to compare Tottenham forward Harry Kane and former team-mate Thierry Henry.
Vieira praised the Spurs striker, who is nine goals away from the Frenchman’s overall tally of 175 Premier League goals, but admitted the Gunners was great at a “different level.”
Pushed to elaborate, the Eagles boss admitted: “Thierry could do everything.
“He had pace, power, he could run in behind, could get the ball in his feet and dribble past three or four players and go to score the goal. Maybe because I played with Thierry, I see him in a different way.
“Maybe it’s easier for me to talk about Thierry than to talk about Kane. That’s something that you guys have to take into consideration as well! But I see Thierry as in the top three of all time.”