Louis van Gaal has revealed he was close to taking over as Tottenham manager in the summer of 2014 before Manchester United came calling.
Van Gaal was ending his tenure as boss of Holland in 2014 after the World Cup while Tottenham were searching for a new man to replace the sacked Tim Sherwood.
And Tottenham were in hot pursuit of Van Gaal, with the Dutchman admitting that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy flew out to Holland to meet him at his home but his dithering led to the move being scrapped.
As negotiations with Tottenham came to a halt, Premier League giants United swooped in for his services before the World Cup kicked off as they eyed David Moyes’ successor.
‘Daniel Levy flew into Holland with a private jet and came to my house, where we spoke for several hours,’ Van Gaal revealed in an interview with FourFourTwo.
‘He even stayed on to watch the Southampton-Spurs match later that afternoon [which Spurs won 3-2]. He asked for my thoughts about that game, so that was a kind of test as well.
‘When Levy wanted to leave in the evening, I noticed there were TV cameras outside my house. A Dutch broadcaster had heard that he was in Holland, and guessed he would be here for me.’
After revealing that his friend managed to sneak Levy out in the back of his car without reporters realising, Van Gaal claimed the Spurs chairman then took too long in coming up with an offer for him after their meeting.
Van Gaal added: ‘As a coach, timing is everything! But it took Spurs a long time to make a firm offer, and United approached me in the meantime. They acted far quicker.
‘I also liked the idea of going there, to coach the number one club in England – just like I had done before in Holland, Spain and Germany. If Spurs had come with a concrete offer earlier on, I’d have signed for them.
‘Spurs were actually a club I liked when I was younger, as I was a big fan of Jimmy Greaves. I told Levy that as well, but he blew the chance by waiting so long.’
Van Gaal spent two seasons at Old Trafford, with his tenure in Manchester ending with FA Cup glory at Wembley in 2016.
In the end, things worked out alright for Tottenham as they appointed Mauricio Pochettino, who would go on to spend five years at the club and turn them into Champions League regulars – making the 2018-19 final.