Newcastle's reason for turning down Luka Modric is incredibly dumb in hindsight
This one's going to sting for Newcastle fans.
The waves of discontent stemming from Mike Ashley's ownership of Newcastle United have been growing increasingly aggressive in recent years.
Ashley has reportedly lowered his asking price for the club as he aims to sell it amid fan pressure, with the Magpies winless this season and the lack of summer investment largely to blame for the tough start to the campaign.
Manager Rafa Benitez remains a popular figure at St. James' Park but the fact that the club generated over £20 million in profit in the transfer window is not a promising sign for fans, who knew that the squad needed to be improved.
Newcastle's recruitment struggles are nothing new, however, as demonstrated by the club's decision to pull the plug on a potential deal for Luka Modric in 2008.
Then-manager Kevin Keegan had managed to arrange a meeting with Modric's agent before the midfielder moved to Tottenham Hotspur but Keegan had been in the process of selling the benefits of choosing Newcastle when Tony Jimenez, the club's vice-president in charge of player recruitment at the time, pulled out of the deal.
"At one point I took a call from Luka Modric’s agent to ask if I would be keen on signing the player from Dinamo Zagreb," Keegan revealed in an extract from his book My Life in Football, published by The Times. "Modric had already been speaking to Spurs and his agent was honest enough to explain the move to White Hart Lane was likely to happen.
"His agent flew up from London. I explained what a great club Newcastle was, how the supporters would adore Modric and how we were looking for someone to spark us off. Then Jimenez piped up. 'Can I come in here?' he said. 'I don’t think Luka is good enough for the Premier League. He’s too lightweight. He’s decent, but he’s not good enough.'
"It was an awful moment and, 10 years on, it needs only a cursory glance at Modric’s achievements to realise what a nonsense it was. Even back then, however, it was laughable."
Modric was recently named Uefa's Player of the Year after winning three Champions League trophies in a row for Real Madrid and pulling the strings for Croatia en route to the summer's World Cup final.
Meanwhile, Newcastle signed both Danny Guthrie and Kevin Nolan in the summer of 2008 instead.