Last summer, reports that Eric Dier was going to join Manchester United for around £40 million were very, very strong.
In the end, we know that Jose Mourinho opted to sign Nemanja Matic from former club Chelsea for around the same fee to plug his gap in the middle of the park, but reports suggest that Dier remains on the Special One's wishlist.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted he was able to keep ahold of one of his key men, but in an extract from his recently serialised autobiography, the Spurs boss recalls the moment he believed the Dier to Man United rumours began picking up momentum.
The Red Devils had just beaten Spurs 1-0 at Old Trafford and the Argentine boss saw something in the tunnel he did not like.
"Mourinho and I had finished our interviews at Old Trafford [after the 1-0 defeat by Manchester United, December 2016] and the players were doing their warm-down on the pitch. When Jose was done with the press, he stood by the entrance to the tunnel and regarded the returning players.
"He greeted Moussa Sissoko and hugged Dier. They passed by me en route to the dressing rooms, laughing, speaking in Portuguese. Maybe it is a common Mourinho tactic, but he put Eric in a compromising position. You cannot do that after a defeat.
"‘Are you friends with Mourinho?’ I asked him. ‘No, but I’ve known him a long time, from my time in Portugal… one of his godsons coached me. He always says hello.’"
Pochettino clearly wasn't happy with Dier and the midfielder revealed to the Sunday Times that his boss took his niceties with Mourinho as a knock against him.
"[After tunnelgate I talked with Pochettino] for a very long time, and all of that week, really, we were in constant dialogue. It was a difficult week for me.
"The manager’s point of view was [the friendliness with Mourinho] was disrespectful to him. [The dialogue] was more him getting that message across than me getting my message across.
"I didn’t want to be disrespectful to anyone. I completely understand where the manager was coming from but I believe I was stuck in the middle of something I couldn’t really affect," Dier said.
In truth, the fact that Dier did not disclose what he discussed with Mourinho seems slightly incriminating, but did Pochettino overreact about the situation?
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