Tottenham one of top clubs to reject transfer for Salah-like attacker

Tottenham train ahead of Champions League trip to Marseille

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Tottenham were one of several top clubs to turn down a move for highly-rated talent Khvicha Kvaratskhelia several years ago, according to the now-Napoli winger’s agent. Kvaratskhelia was offered to the Premier League side and many other big European clubs but a move from Rubin Kazan failed to materialise. 

Christian Emile has revealed that the impacts of COVID-19 left clubs unwilling to take a risk on the then-teenage Georgian prospect. Spurs might regret turning down the prospect of a potential deal given that Kvaratskhelia has starred for Napoli in Serie A and the Champions League this term – with comparisons made to Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah. 

It was put to Emile that Spurs, Juventus and other clubs had been linked with the 21-year-old when he was starring for Rubin. 

“All those clubs you mention, they were all interested in Kvaratskhelia. Most of the clubs you heard in the media in Germany, England, Italy, this was true. Eventually when we started proposing him [to clubs] more and more, people and clubs saw the quality. However, there’s a difference between understanding the quality and putting the money down,” Emile told Fabrizio Romano on the transfer expert’s YouTube channel. 

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“At that time, Rubin were asking for €20m (£17.2m), and everyone can now say he’s worth much more than that. Even at that time, he had been playing senior football for three years and his statistics, he was scoring four or five goals a season. For a young boy in a strong league, it’s not bad.

“Clubs were not so secure to spend this €20m on a player who they did not have much background information on because he was not coming from a big football country. He was not coming from Brazil, for example. 

“I’m telling you that if he was coming from Croatia, he would maybe have been sold at that time and for more money. Only because Croatian players have a big track record of going to the big five leagues and doing well.”

Kvaratskhelia moved to Napoli in the summer for a cut-price £8m, having spent a period of time back in the Georgian league following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti has compared the starlet to Liverpool icon Salah. 

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“They are two footballers who in different ways manage to make these brilliant plays, because that’s what we’re talking about. You can play any simple ball on them and they manage to turn it into an opportunity for the team,” he said when asked about comparisons. 

“They have this ease to point and get past the opponent, to caress the ball as they go 2000 kilometres an hour and make a turnaround. 

“Both of them are very convinced of their potential, in being so simple, such good guys, so willing to help everyone all the time. Indeed they are two that can put their own spin on it.”

Kvaratskhelia has scored eight goals and provided 10 assists in just 16 games this season. He helped Napoli breeze through a Champions League group that consisted of Liverpool, Ajax and Rangers. 

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