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Exclusive: Finidi George talks almost joining Tottenham & Ipswich Town regrets

Nigeria hero Finidi George has revealed he came close to joining Tottenham Hotspur during his storied career.

A talented and vibrant winger, George got his big break in Europe in 1993 when he joined Dutch giants Ajax.

In his three seasons in Amsterdam, George won three Eredivisie titles and started in the Champions League final victory over AC Milan in 1995.

Real Madrid were rumoured to want George after the 1996 season, but the Nigeria international eventually landed at Real Betis.

Four legendary years with Betis ended in 2000 before George moved to Mallorca and then Ipswich Town in 2001.

Asked by if he had an earlier chance to move to England, George replied: "Yes. Before I signed for Ipswich, there were rumours of Tottenham wanting to sign me in 1998 after the World Cup in France but that deal did not go through.

"If that had gone through, I would had played in England years before I played for Ipswich."

Finidi George playing for Ipswich

George endured a tough couple of seasons at Portman Road, eventually leaving in 2003 with 35 appearances and seven goals to his name.

And when quizzed why it didn't work out with the Tractor Boys, George said: "At Ipswich, I didn't play the way I ought to play. I was not fit enough due to injuries and the team dropped.

"It was very unfortunate due to injuries I suffered and I felt I did not have the continuity of playing at my best.

"The team treated me well, the fans showed me great love, but my only regret is that I could not meet the expectations of the fans to remain in the premiership. The team was relegated."

And George admitted he wished he had stayed in England longer.

"I would have loved to stay longer in England but that didn't work out. Your team gets relegated, everything changes at the club.

"I would have loved to stay between 4 - 6 seasons but that didn't happen. I can't fix that. My playing time is over. I'm a coach now."

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Francis Achi

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