Alen Halilovic stated that prior to joining Barcelona in 2014, he declined a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
A decade ago, the Croatian was the talk of the town. Everyone believed he was a future superstar, and many elite teams were eager to sign him.Among them was Tottenham, but he made the decision not to sign with the North Londoners.
Alen Halilovic says he turned down a move to Tottenham
Every year, dozens of gifted young athletes emerge who are touted as the next big thing.
Among them was Alen Halilovic, the adolescent midfielder who created quite the stir when he began to play for Dinamo Zagreb.
Halilovic was attracting interest from a number of European clubs, Tottenham being one of them. Ten years ago, they even made an offer to sign him.
The midfield player did, however, say this week that he declined a transfer to Spurs because, at the time, the North London team lacked a “clear plan” for him.
“Barcelona was for my style, but Tottenham wanted to buy me,” Halilovic said to The Athletic. They were about having the ball at your feet and possessing it. I was supposed to play for Barca B the first year, then I would be loaned to La Liga, and they would make a decision in the third year.
To the question of whether his father forced him to pick Barcelona over Spurs, he answered, “That is totally not true.” There was no pressure from my parents on me.
“At the time, he believed it was the right move for me because England was too difficult for me to play in at age sixteen in the Croatian league.” Tottenham didn’t have a clear plan, but they didn’t want me in the starting lineup.
Halilovic’s career hasn’t gone to plan
When Alen Halilovic was a teenager, the world was at his feet.
The Croatian was anticipated to reach the same heights as the Real Madrid star, who was compared to his country’s idol, Luka Modric, at the time (Daily Mail).
Sadly, Halilovic’s situation hasn’t turned out well. Before being traded to Hamburg, he only made one senior appearance for Barcelona’s senior team. After that, he transferred for free to AC Milan, but his tenure there was equally disastrous.
Halilovic joined Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands last summer following a string of unsuccessful moves throughout Europe; he has since scored three goals and contributed two assists for the team.
It’s only natural to imagine how his career could have turned out had he chosen to play for Tottenham rather than Barcelona all those years ago.