Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has revealed he almost signed AC Milan bad-boy Gennaro Gattuso.
Spurs’ win over the Italian giants on Tuesday night was overshadowed by two clashes between Gattuso and Tottenham assistant manager Joe Jordan, with the former Italy international pushing and then head-butting the 59-year-old Scot.
And Redknapp, who branded Gattuso “crazy” following the incident, has now admitted the fiery midfielder could have been playing for Spurs at the San Siro.
He wrote in his column for The Sun: “I will admit that Gattuso was a player I considered signing last summer. Gattuso was offered to Tottenham by an agent.
“I had even managed him before a big charity game when I was in charge of a European All Star XI against the Rest of the World one summer.
“Gattuso was fantastic in the dressing room and, because of being his manager on that occasion against the Rest of the World, I gave it serious thought. But it never quite worked out.
“At the end of the game I honestly thought Gattuso was coming over to apologise. I thought he wanted to shake Joe's hand. Gattuso said to me, 'Well played, well done, good luck'. But then he nutted Joe right out of the blue.
“I've met Gattuso before and I thought at the time what an absolutely fantastic bloke - a terrific footballer, who appeared very easy to get along with. He seemed a fantastic character.
“But on Tuesday night, in front of 80,000 fans at one of the most talked about stadiums in football, he lost it for no apparent reason.”
Gattuso has claimed he was baited by Jordan throughout the game, but Redknapp insists his number two did no such thing.
He added: “Only a real man can keep his fists by his side when he is attacked. Only a real man refuses to get dragged down, despite being grabbed, pushed and head-butted.
“That real man is my mate. That real man is my first-team coach at White Hart Lane. That real man is Joe Jordan.
“In the face of unbelievable provocation at the San Siro, Joe kept his hands to himself while Gennaro Gattuso had him by the throat. He did not lose his rag when Gattuso shoved him, he did not go in with fists swinging when Gattuso shocked us all with his head-butt. Joe took the lot.
“And now some people are trying to paint him as the villain of the piece, when nothing could be further from the truth.”