Jimenez reveals Keegan’s astonishing £400m Newcastle target list

Date published: Wednesday 26th September 2018 11:28 - Matthew Briggs

Kevin Keegan allegedly drew up a transfer target list at Newcastle which included David Beckham, according to Tony Jimenez.

Keegan also turned down the opportunity to sign Daniel Sturridge and Karim Benzema in his time at Newcastle.

Businessman Jimenez was vice chairman for a nine-month spell at Newcastle while Keegan was the manager and he has denied claims in Keegan’s autobiography My Life in Football that he blocked the signing of Luka Modric.

Keegan claimed Jimenez rejected the chance to sign Modric in 2008 on the grounds that the Croatia playmaker was “too lightweight”.

The 55-year-old’s recollection of the negotiations are quite different though and he told The Times it was Mike Ashley that pulled the plug on the deal with Modric at Newcastle’s training ground.

Jimenez said: “We flew Modric over to Newcastle, got him to the training ground. Everything was pretty much agreed but it was down to Mike. He was given the numbers — a £16 million fee and £2 million commission for the agent — and decided he didn’t want to take the risk.

“We had a gentleman’s agreement with Tottenham that we wouldn’t compete for the same players. We let Jonathan Woodgate go to Spurs on the basis that we would get Modric, but Mike didn’t want to pay. In the end I told Daniel Levy that we had pulled out and that Tottenham should sign him.”

It’s clear that Jimenez and Keegan did not see eye to eye in their time on Tyneside, with Jimenez claiming the former England star and manager was stuck in a “time warp”.

“Kevin was a great player but lives in a time-warp. He played in an era when the top managers ran every aspect of football clubs and thinks his status in the game means he should have the same control,” said Jimenenz. “He didn’t understand that it doesn’t work like that anymore. Perhaps God had given him so much talent in his feet that he’d taken something else away?”

Jimenez has claimed in January 2008 the club wanted to sign now Liverpool forward Sturridge, while Jermain Defoe and Karim Benzema were also on the shortlist.

“The minute you questioned him he lost the plot,” added Jimenez. “During that window we offered him the players that we were working on when we thought Harry Redknapp was coming as manager — Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Lassana Diarra — and he said none of them were good enough.

“The other player we were really keen on was Daniel Sturridge. He said he’d had him as a kid at Man City and that he wasn’t good enough for League One.

“He didn’t want Hatem Ben Arfa or Karim Benzema either. We asked Kevin for a list of players for every position, bearing in mind he had £25million to spend. Our list included Benzema and Ben Arfa who were young players at Lyons, as well as Samir Nasri.

“Kevin took one look and called them all chancers. His list was David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Ronaldinho, Kaka among others. We added their transfer value up and it was £399million, plus £100million in wages.”

 

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