Harry Redknapp 'tried to get rid of Gareth Bale' during his time at Tottenham, claims Damien Comolli

The former director of football has revealed he expected to stay at White Hart Lane for life

Tottenham's former director of football has suggested Harry Redknapp did not fully appreciate the players he brought to club, claiming the current QPR manager tried to get rid of Gareth Bale.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, Comolli reveals how he successfully brought Bale in from Southampton.

“We were looking for a left-sided, left-footed player. I don’t know how many times I saw him that season — home, away, cold days, windy days, good days — his talent was just unbelievable.

“It was a long chase. I developed a close relationship with his parents. The key was convincing the player.

“We told him he would have a chance to play, even if he was only 18. He told me there weren’t any 18-year-old left-backs in the top four or five in the Premier League. I said, ‘I know, but you can play left midfield.’ He replied, ‘No, I don’t think I can play left midfield.’ I said, ‘Listen, you can play left midfield.’”

Comolli was long gone before Bale reached his potential and left in an £85m deal to Real Madrid. Considered to be at fault after Spurs' start to the 2008/09 season in which they picked up two points from eight games, he and then manager Juande Ramos were sacked.

They were replaced by Redknapp who oversaw a major turnaround at the club and even took the club to the Champions League.

“Harry needs to get a lot of credit for what he achieved; creating team spirit, playing very good, attacking-minded football and getting the team believing that they could do it," says Comolli.

However, Comolli claims Redknapp was not fully aware of the talents that had been left at his disposal.

“After I went, they even had a discussion with Juventus to sell Modric, because they didn’t believe in him. And he [Redknapp] even tried to get rid of Bale.”

Harry Redknapp has denied he tried to sell Bale  

In his autobiography, Redknapp vigorously denies this. However, Comolli points to such signings as evidence of his talent in the director of football role, and admits he was surprised to be dismissed.

“I thought I would stay at Spurs for the rest of my life. I probably was too naive because I had such a great relationship with Daniel [Levy, Tottenham chairman]. Probably I needed to tell Daniel at the time, ‘Listen, whatever people are telling you, they are wrong, because we’ve got fantastic players. It’s not working out with this manager, even though, with time, it will probably work out.’ But I didn’t say it.”

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003