Mike Ashley’s budget cuts stopped Luka Modric from becoming a Newcastle United player in 2008, Sam Allardyce has revealed.
The Sunderland manager said he was on the brink of signing the Real Madrid midfielder during his short stint in charge of his new club’s fierce rivals, but eventually had to settle for the signing of Geremi as the Croatia international joined Tottenham.
Allardyce also revealed he came close to signing current Everton and England defenders Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, but Newcastle failed to secure the deals.
Writing in his new book ‘Big Sam’, he said: “I was on the way to getting Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb but, by then, Mike saw the scale of the full debt and put the clamps on, so I had to make do with Geremi from Chelsea.
“We tried for Leighton Baines at Wigan and Phil Jagielka at Sheffield United, but I got Jose Enrique from Villarreal and eventually Habib Beye from Marseille and Abdoulaye Faye from Bolton on transfer deadline day.”
Allardyce – who saw Modric join Tottenham in 2008 – is still regretful about his short spell at Newcastle, saying he did not stand a chance after Ashley’s takeover having been appointed under the previous regime.
He added: “If ever there was a right club at the wrong time it was Newcastle United.
“I never had a chance once Mike Ashley took over. I wasn’t his man and he just listened to more vocal fans who demanded change.
“We lost three games over Christmas at Wigan, Chelsea and at home to Man City, and the jungle drums were beating loudly.”