Former Argentine star Diego Milito snubbed a moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008
Tottenham Hotspur have missed out on several superstars in the past and it would appear we can now add another name to that list- Diego Milito.
The Argentine was offered the opportunity to move to White Hart Lane in 2008 when he was still at Real Zaragoza. Milito scored 15 goals and six goals in the 2007-08 La Liga season, earning admiring glances from the decision makers in North London.
The managed by Juande Ramos, Spurs were reeling under the loss of star duo Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. The then-Tottenham boss was familiar with the Spanish market and it thus makes sense that the club’s recruitment team was alerted to Milito’s availability.
Unfortunately it was not to be as the Argentine opted to return for a second spell at Italian side Genoa. Speaking to DAZNS’ Un’altra storia via TuttoMercatoWeb, Milito confirmed that a deal to join Tottenham was in the works.
He went on to add that the Real Zaragoza president had already closed an agreement with Tottenham. Unfortunately for us, Milito was unhappy with the arrangement and vetoed the move. Despite having Spurs legends Osvaldo Ardiles and Julio Ricardo Villa’s blessings, the Argentine opted to take his future elsewhere.
“Those weeks were very difficult because I almost had an agreement with an English team, the president of Real Zaragoza had closed but I wasn’t happy. I don’t know why. It was Tottenham who wanted me and Ardiles, Julio Ricardo Villa, also liked me.”
Genoa president Enrico Preziosi also swung the transfer saga in his side’s favour by making a call to Milito and his wife. The personal touch appeared to have rekindled the player’s love for a club and city that he was familiar with.
“The day before Preziosi called me and my wife told me that my face had changed. I felt that I had to return to Genoa. I have always chosen with my heart and for this reason I told myself that I had to return.”
Milito eventually moved to Genoa and went on to score 26 goals and make six assists in 32 matches across all competitions for the club. This eventually attracted attention from Inter Milan who signed him the following summer. Milito would go on to a play a key role for the Nerazzurri as Jose Mourinho’s men won the treble in 2010.
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In many ways, Tottenham missed out on one of European football’s best players who was on the verge of a purple patch. While it is debatable if he would have enjoyed the same success at Spurs, signing Milito could have a coup of sorts.
Tottenham eventually signed Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane in the 2009 January transfer window as Harry Redknapp steadied the ship. The rest as they say is history.