Harry Redknapp has revealed how he resorted to underhand tactics toprevent Tottenham signing Glen Johnson - while he was Portsmouthmanager.
Tomorrow's Barclays Premier League game between Spurs and Liverpoolwill see Redknapp reunited with right-back Johnson, one of severalcurrent England stars he nurtured at West Ham.
The pair joined forces again at Fratton Park in 2006 when Redknapp secured the 26-year-old on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
Johnson's performances for Pompey prompted interest from Tottenham,and chairman Daniel Levy asked Redknapp for his opinion on thedefender.
Redknapp said: 'Daniel rang me up and said, "What about GlenJohnson, Harry? We're interested in him. Do you think he would be agood signing for Tottenham?"
'I said: "No, no, he's not for Tottenham. He's not good enough for you, Daniel".
'And I signed him (on a permanent deal) the next day for Portsmouth.
'Daniel does remind of that quite often. But that's life, that's football.'
The shoe appeared to be on the other foot in the summer of last yearwhen Spurs - by then under Redknapp's stewardship - were heavily linkedwith a move for Johnson.
They ultimately lost out to Liverpool, who splashed out a remarkable £18million on the full-back.
Johnson has since had an up-and-down career at Anfield and his days at the club looked numbered when new manager Roy Hodgson publicly criticised his performances earlier this month.
Reports of a fallout between the pair followed but they appear to have patched up their differences, with Johnson responding with one of his best displays of the season in last weekend's win over West Ham.
But he will need to be on his mettle tomorrow against the hottest winger around in Gareth Bale.
Call my bluff: Redknapp (left) put Daniel Levy (right) off the scent
Indeed, man for man, Spurs now look a far stronger team than Liverpool, a position of superiority they have arguably not enjoyed since the 1960s.
Redknapp said: 'We've got good players here, improving players.
'When you see people like Luka (Modric) and Gareth and these boys, they're getting better all the time.
'We've improved the squad with people like (Rafael) van der Vaart coming in now this year.
'So we are a team that is certainly getting better. Let's hope we can keep that going.'
Proof Tottenham have overtaken Liverpool arrived last season, when they stole the Champions League spot tomorrow's opponents had begun to take for granted.
They have rubbed salt into the wound by taking Europe's premier club competition by storm but Redknapp was reluctant to make comparisons between the sides.
'For sure, we are in the Champions League and they are not,' said Redknapp, aware Liverpool will overtake sixth-placed Spurs in the Premier League tomorrow if they win by two clear goals at White Hart Lane.
'For the past 30 years or so under (Kenny) Dalglish, (Joe) Fagan, (Bob) Paisley, they were winning championships.
'They have done it all, haven't they?'
Meanwhile, Redknapp has confirmed William Gallas will remain Tottenham captain for the foreseeable future.
Gallas wearing the armband appeared unthinkable when he crossed the north London divide this summer.
But the defender's performances as skipper in last weekend's derby win at Arsenal and against Werder Bremen on Wednesday night have won over the doubters.
Modric had led the side in the absence of club captain Ledley King and understudies Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone.
Redknapp said: 'I spoke to Luka about it and he's fine; he gets on and just wants to play.
'When Dawson and Tom Huddlestone are back, we'll look at it again.
'I'm a bit superstitious so I just thought, it went well at Arsenal and he responded, so we're delighted he is captain.'
Gallas has now skippered all three of London's biggest clubs and Redknapp believes this speaks volumes for the 33-year-old's leadership, adding: '(It is) unusual to captain Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs.'
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Explore more:People: Michael Dawson, William Gallas, Daniel Levy, Glen Johnson, Harry Redknapp, Roy Hodgson, Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone Places: Liverpool, London, United Kingdom, Europe