Sam Allardyce has repeated his claim that Mike Ashley blocked a deal for Luka Modric while he was in charge at Newcastle United.
Allardyce first claimed in 2010 that Modric visited Newcastle’s training ground only for Ashley to block the deal, and it is an accusation he repeats in his new book, ‘Big Sam’.
He says: “I was then on the way to getting Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb, but by then, Mike saw the scale of the full debut and put the clamps on, so I had to make do with Geremi from Chelsea.”
While Geremi flopped at St James’ Park, Modric eventually joined Tottenham, where he shone before earning a £30million transfer to Real Madrid.
Allardyce claims he lost out on two other players while at Newcastle who would go on to be Premier League successes.
“We tried for Leighton Baines at Wigan and Phil Jagielka at Sheffield United but I got Jose Enrique from Villarreal, eventually Habib Beye from Marseille and Abdoulaye Faye from Bolton on transfer deadline day,” Allardyce says.
“I also signed Joey Barton from Man City who I thought would liven things up, which he did, though not in a good way.”
Reflecting on his short stint in charge at Newcastle, Allardyce says: “If ever there was a right club at the wrong time it was Newcastle United.
“I had all the qualifications to be a success there as I flew to the North East in 2007 in a helicopter provided by Freddy Shepherd for my grand unveiling.
“This was the big-time.
“Many managers had spoken over the years about Newcastle being a sleeping giant.
“I was convinced I was the man to wake them up again.”