Tottenham were ready to move for him had Juande Ramos refused to move from Sevilla and once even considered approaching him as one-half of a managerial pairing with Giovanni Trapattoni.
"I did hear something about that," says Hughes. "It was when I was Wales manager and I was in the company of people who discussed it.
"I think it came about it after we beat Trapattoni's Italy team. It was a few months after that. But it didn't happen, as I understand it, because his wife was against it."
Hughes has nevertheless emerged as one of the British managers most likely to end the trend that sees leading clubs too often opting for foreign alternatives.
"It's a situation we have to overcome," he says, "although I don't think it's going to change in the short term, especially when clubs are being taken over by foreign investors. The likelihood is there will be fewer opportunities for British managers.
"You can't argue against some of the appointments - guys who are winning the big prizes in Europe before they come here.
"But some clubs appoint foreign managers at a time when what they need to do is start winning Premier League matches, when understanding European football is no use."
Hughes believes a lot of clubs now want a "name" manager. "They want someone to satisfy the investors," he says, "even when I'm sure a British manager could be more successful."