Miralem Pjanic has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to join Tottenham Hotspur during his time at Roma.
The holding man is preparing to face Spurs in the Champions League last-16 with current employers Juventus on Tuesday night and admitted that he has previously rejected moves to the Premier League with the Lilywhites and North London rivals Arsenal.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international was approached as a replacement for Luka Modric when the Tottenham deep-lying playmaker signed for Real Madrid in 2012 but says that he was not interested in making a switch at that time.
“There was the opportunity but at that moment I told them I was happy where I was and that’s why we didn’t sign the deal,” Pjanic told The Telegraph.
“But I made my choice using my head and if I made that choice not to go to an English team it was for good reasons.”
Whilst it would have been a coup for Tottenham had they sealed a deal for Pjanic, there is no doubt that from the player’s view he made the right call by remaining in the Italian capital.
There, he established himself as one of Serie A’s top midfielders and Juventus eventually came calling in 2016.
Having operated in the very centre of the park during the 2016-17 campaign, the 27-year-old has dropped into a deeper lying role this term to accommodate for manager Massimiliano Allegri’s switch from a three-man defence to a flat back four.
Pjanic is arguably now the key man in the Turin outfit’s line-up; he is the starting point for many attacks and controls the tempo from deep in the park.
Tottenham must find a way of nullifying his influence on proceedings at the Allianz Stadium and it will be interesting to see how boss Mauricio Pochettino plans to restrict the former Lyon star.
The Argentine showed his tactical flexibility playing away at Real Madrid in the group stages, when Spurs lined up with a front two and overloaded the spine of the team to occupy playmakers Modric and Toni Kroos.
However, Juve play a different style to the La Liga side with only one out-and-out striker and perhaps operating with a more advanced midfield duo to get in and around Pjanic would be an option to keep him at bay.