Former Arsenal Academy chief Liam Brady says Arsenal passed up on the opportunity to sign Harry Kane because he “was a bit chubby”.
Spurs head to Brady’s old stomping ground in Turin tonight for the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie with Juventus and the Irish Examiner columnist insists Juve are not a side Tottenham should fear.
Of Kane, Brady told Il Corriere della Sera: “He’s a lad with a character which pushes him to improve all the time.
“He’s right up there after [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Robert] Lewandowski. Just look at his statistics. And he’s only 24.”
But the former Arsenal head of youth development also confirmed the Gunners rejected Kane from their academy when he was 9 or 10.
“He was a bit chubby and not very athletic, but we made a mistake,” Brady said. “But Tottenham also sent him on loan three or four times in the lower leagues. Yet he’s got that determination and is building a great career for himself, and he deserves it.”
Of the two-legged clash, Brady told Italian media: “Juve are not favourites. I’d say it’s 50-50. Tottenham are well organised and they have a competent manager and three hugely talented players in attack in [Christian] Eriksen, [Dele] Alli and Kane, who you need to stop already in midfield to prevent them from doing damage.”
Juve may have Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic up front, but Brady warned: “I think Higuain is already past his best. He struggles to make the difference in Europe — he’s too static. Dybala, meanwhile, is a rising star, but he’s no longer a new prospect like he was last season and opponents know how to deal with him now. To win in Europe, you need more.”
Brady rates Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri highly, adding: “If Arsenal, Chelsea or the two Manchester clubs need a new coach, he’s on the list.”
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