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Sam Allardyce Exclusive: "I Could Have Signed Modric, Eto'o And Rivaldo"

Sam Allardyce Exclusive: "I Could Have Signed Modric, Eto'o And Rivaldo"

Sam Allardyce has revealed how he had the opportunity to sign Luka Modric, Samuel Eto’o and Rivaldo in his time as manager of Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers. The 67-year-old was at Bolton between 1999 and 2007, before spending the following year at Newcastle. Allardyce signed a number of top players in his managerial career – but did miss out on a few star names.




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Rivaldo, Eto'o And Modric 

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “Well, I tried to sign a few. I think probably more in the realms at Bolton than anywhere else. 

“There was one at Newcastle, which was Modric, and I think that we had the figure for him, we had the chance to talk to him. 

“But the price, and the fact that the new ownership had taken over, it was left too late. 

“Obviously, he moved to Spurs – I’m not saying he would have joined us, but we had the opportunity to talk. 

“With Bolton, it would have been Eto’o. He was on loan at Real Mallorca at the time, so there was a chance to buy him from Barcelona. 

“It eventually turned out alright; a year or two later we signed Nicolas Anelka, who was maybe equally as good, if not better.

“They’re the biggest two that might come to mind. I'm not saying we would have signed them, but we certainly had the opportunity. 

“I had Rivaldo at Bolton Wanderers, but again, after talking to him, it wasn't right for him and it probably wasn’t right for me. I don't think he’d have been a success in the Premier League – as talented as he was.

“But in his 30s, I think he might have struggled with the pace of the Premier League at that stage. But what a wonderful player.”

Mentality Change At Bolton

Allardyce also explained how he changed the mentality at Bolton and helped create an environment that was attractive to quality players – and has detailed his strategy for convincing those players to sign for him.

“I was talking to all these guys at Bolton Wanderers who never thought outside the box,” he continued. “They thought, ‘Bolton Wanderers, North-west Lancashire, full stop’. 

“I'm thinking global. Do you realise we’re on telly across the world to one billion viewers every weekend? 

“We've got to think outside of the box on things that we can do and the signings we can make. 

“A lot of football clubs at that time in Europe and beyond had financial problems – even the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid – so a player like Ivan Campo becomes available because Madrid were desperate to get them off the wage bill.  

“They couldn't sell players, so loans were the perfect answer for them and the perfect answer for us. 

“If you're good enough and they enjoy themselves enough, and you pay them enough, they want to stay. Everybody wants to play in the Premier League. 

“Everybody wants to come – well, not everybody, but most players want to come and play in the Premier League because that's where it's at now. That's where all the razzmatazz is. 

“That's where all the attention comes from. That's where the money's the best. In every area of football, everybody wants to come and work in the Premier League. 

“Those players did. They couldn't find a club that was in a better situation than ours or bigger than ours, so they came to Bolton. 

“We had to sell that, but the one thing we had was a great new stadium. We had a terrible training ground that they didn't see until they signed. They didn't fly to us. We flew to them. 

“We sat down in their environment and sold them the club, and I sold myself. That was it. 

“I have to say, Youri [Djorkaeff] – we got Bruno N’Gotty and Bernard Mendy and people like that –  but Djorkaeff, the catalyst of Youri made it easier for the next big star to join us.

“Youri didn't just stay for that short period. After the World Cup, he came back for three years. 

“We used to go and say to players, ‘You might think you could get a move to Arsenal or Tottenham, but Youri’s still here. Youri will tell you how good it is. You can use us as a platform to show you can play in the Premier League. And of course, we're still in a position where, if we don't get offered enough money, we'll still sell you.’ 

“In my time, in the end, nobody really wanted to be sold. They just wanted to stay.”

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