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The one that got away: Rivaldo and Tottenham Hotspur

Despite all their class and quality Tottenham have struggled tremendously to secure silverware these past two decades, and we find ourselves wondering ‘what if?’; what if they managed to sign one of the most gifted footballers to have ever graced the game, Rivaldo, back in 2002.

Tottenham Hotspur have earned a name for themselves for being a little frugal in recent times.

Which is fine, they’re doing extremely well under Mauricio Pochettino after all.

However, you can’t help but wonder how successful they could have been over the years if they’d just invested a little more.

Indeed, more than ever money is conducive to Premier League success – discounting Leicester City, of course – and Spurs will need to learn that soon if they wish to turn themselves into legitimate winners.

Saying that, they should have also been a little more active when given the chance to sign Rivaldo on a free

Rivaldo – 2002

Rivaldo, 30, who was available on a free from Catalan giants Barcelona at the time, topped Daniel Levy’s priority list in 2002.

Yes, that’s right, Rivaldo.

According to the Standard, Daniel Levy made an ambitious swoop for the Brazilian travelling to Spain in an attempt to convince him he had a future in the Premier League playing for Tottenham Hotspur.

Alas, it wasn’t to be, and Milan ultimately won his signature.

Rivaldo claimed: “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.”

How sincere that is we’re not exactly sure.

Glenn Hoddle, Spurs’ manager in 2002, said: “It goes without saying that a player of Rivaldo’s quality would have been a major boost to our squad. There are not many players of that class in the world game so when the chance of signing was there we had to move heaven and earth to try and bring him here.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen this time, but the search goes on. People keep telling us we need a forward, but they are being naive if they think we don’t already appreciate that fact. We are well served in defence and midfield with possibly the best squad that this club has seen for some time.”

As we well know ‘the best squad that club has seen for some time’ didn’t win anything that year, nor the year after, and so on.

Rivaldo on the other hand went on to win a Champions League and an Italian Cup at AC Milan.

Interestingly enough, however, Tottenham now boast probably the best squad the club has seen in the modern era. Indeed, despite the huge amount of money currently in the Premier League, Spurs still suffer on the transfer front and, while their imminent stadium move plays into that, it’s interesting that history somewhat repeats itself.

The modern equivalent of Rivaldo would still be a tier above Tottenham you’d imagine, though it’s another case of ‘always the bridesmaid’…

The one that got away.

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