Duff: I nearly joined Liverpool two or three times and Spurs wanted me, too

Former Chelsea midfielder Damien Duff has told FourFourTwo how he might have signed for both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur during his career.

The 37-year-old won back-to-back Premier League titles and lifted the League Cup during a successful three-season spell at Stamford Bridge, which also included scoring against Barcelona in the Blues’ March 2005 Champions League victory.

I remember getting a message from [Spurs boss] Martin Jol, but I was a Chelsea fan after winning titles there so it was something I never really looked at

Duff netted 19 goals in 125 appearances for the west Londoners before departing for Newcastle in 2006, with whom he suffered relegation to the Championship in 2008/09.

However, the Irishman has admitted that he had the option to move across the capital to Chelsea’s arch rivals Spurs that summer – not that he gave it too much serious thought.

Speaking exclusively in the April 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, Duff reveals: “I remember getting a message from Martin Jol, but I was a Chelsea fan after winning titles there so it was something I never really looked at. I had friends at Newcastle – Scott Parker, Shay Given – and I wanted to give that a real go, but I had a disaster. I gave them everything but sometimes moves don't work out.

Portraits: Mark Duggan

“I cried on the day that I left [Chelsea] – looking back, that probably should have told me I was making the wrong call, as I never cried when I left Blackburn, Newcastle or Fulham, or even when I retired. But it was my own decision.”

“I came close [to joining Liverpool] two or three times. The first was a year or two before I signed for Chelsea. Blackburn wanted a big fee so not many clubs could afford me! When I was leaving Chelsea, the same move nearly happened again

Anfield could also have been a destination for Duff, and on more than one occasion. The wideman admits that Liverpool had initially been keen on signing him towards the end of his time with Blackburn, and expressed an interest again when he was leaving Chelsea.

“I came close [to joining Liverpool] two or three times,” he says. “The first was a year or two before I signed for Chelsea [in 2003]. I would have gone there, but Blackburn wanted a big fee so not too many clubs could afford to buy me back then! Then when I was leaving Chelsea, the same move nearly happened again.”

Read the full interview with Damien Duff in the April 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Featuring some of the best young players in the world, we talk to Dele Alli about fame, his unlimited potential and his pooch Hugo, sing Happy Birthday to Bayern Munich whiz kid Joshua Kimmich and check in with Borussia Dortmund youngsters Christian Pulisic, Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro, Ousmane Dembele and Alexander Isak. Plus, we speak to Ademola Lookman about making the jump from League One Charlton to Premier League Everton, profile 18-year-old Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma – who’s already the heir to namesake Buffon as Italy’s No.1 – and wonder whether Ravel Morrison will ever fulfil his potential. Elsewhere, Newcastle Enfield entertain Sunderland RCA in the ‘other Tyne-Wear derby’, Colchester keeper Dean Brill reveals the unglamorous reality of a deadline-day transfer and we celebrate outfielders going in goal. Order it now, then subscribe!