Tottenham nearly signed Karim Benzema from Lyon before he joined Real Madrid, according to the French club’s former manager Gerard Houllier.
Benzema established himself as one of the best young talents in Europe in his final two seasons at Lyon, scoring 55 goals in 99 games under Houllier’s management.
The France international, now 30, joined Real in summer 2009 for €35million after being linked to a host of clubs including Manchester United and Arsenal.
But Houllier has revealed that Benzema was tempted by a move to White Hart Lane in summer 2007, when Juande Ramos had just become Spurs boss and Darren Bent joined the club to compete with Dimitar Berbatov, Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane for a starting spot up-front.
Houllier was asked by French newspaper Le Parisien if young players should be more patient nowadays, and he replied: “Yes.
“Look at Benzema. At one point, Tottenham wanted to take him. He was tempted. But he and his entourage listened to me and Karim stayed in Lyon. Two years later, he signed for Real Madrid. Today, young people want money right away and to play every game.”
Benzema is approaching 200 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid, where he has won three Champions League titles, two La Liga titles and two Copa del Reys.
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.