Alen Halilovic has claimed that he turned down a move to Tottenham Hotspur before he joined Barcelona in 2014.
The Croatian was the talk of the town a decade ago. Everyone felt he was a superstar in the making, and several top clubs were keen to sign him. Tottenham were one of them, but he decided against joining the North Londoners.
Alen Halilovic says he turned down a move to Tottenham
Dozens of talented young players pop up every year, and they are branded as the next big thing.
Alen Halilovic was one of them, and there was a lot of hype around the midfielder after he started playing for Dinamo Zagreb as a teenager.
Numerous clubs across Europe expressed an interest in Halilovic and Tottenham were among those. They even offered to sign him 10 years ago.
However, the midfielder has revealed this week that he turned down a move to Spurs because the North Londoners had no ‘clear plan’ for him at the time.
Halilovic told The Athletic: “Tottenham wanted to buy me but Barcelona was for my style. They were about possession and the ball at your feet. The first year I was to play Barca B, then they would loan me to La Liga and in the third year they would decide.
When asked if his dad made him choose Barcelona over Spurs, he replied: “That is totally not true. My dad did not put any pressure on me.
“At that time, he thought it was the best step for me as at 16 and only playing the Croatian league, England was too tough. Tottenham didn’t want me in the first team but they didn’t have a clear plan.”
Halilovic’s career hasn’t gone to plan
Alen Halilovic had the world at his feet back when he was a teenager.
The Croatian was compared to his country’s icon Luka Modric back then (Daily Mail), and everyone expected him to hit the heights that the Real Madrid legend did.
Sadly, things haven’t worked out for Halilovic. He made just one senior appearance for Barcelona’s senior side before he was sold to Hamburg. He then moved to AC Milan on a free transfer, but his time there was a disaster as well.
After several failed moves across Europe, Halilovic joined Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands last summer, for whom he has scored three goals and provided two assists so far.
One can only wonder if his career would’ve panned out differently had he joined Tottenham instead of Barcelona all those years ago.