Keegan ‘turned down the chance to sign seven internationals’

Joe Williams

Kevin Keegan turned down a host of top players during his time at Newcastle United, according to the club’s former recruitment chief Tony Jimenez.

Jimenez was responding to accusations from the ex-Liverpool striker in his autobiography that he blocked an attempt from Keegan to sign Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb as he was “too lightweight.”

However, Jimenez claims it was actually the asking price that put off Mike Ashley from stumping up the money for Modric.

In response to Keegan, Jimenez has named Karim Benzema, Hatem Ben Arfa, Samir Nasri, Daniel Sturridge, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Lassana Diarra as players that the former manager refused to sign.

In an interview with The Times, Jimenez said: “The moment you questioned him he lost the plot. 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 Lyon, 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 £399m, plus £100m in wages.”


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