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Sven-Goran Eriksson reveals why Roman Abramovich chose Chelsea over Tottenham

Sven-Goran Eriksson

A great 'what-if' question in football: what if Roman Abramovich had bought Tottenham instead of Chelsea?

There were rumours that Abramovich had meetings with Daniel Levy, plus stories about him opting against the purchase after driving down Tottenham High Road and calling it "worse than Omsk" - a city in Siberia. 

However, speaking to The Times, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed the part he had to play in guiding Abramovich to West London, rather than North.

“He wanted to buy a club in Moscow so we went to Moscow for three days, Pini [Zahavi], him and me. We saw all the clubs and I said buy Dinamo. They had the best facilities.

“I went on holiday and his right-hand man phoned. Roman had changed his mind. He wants to buy a club in London. Tottenham or Chelsea?

I said, ‘What does he want to do?’ He said he wants to win. I said, ‘So buy Chelsea. There you have to change half the team. Tottenham you have to change the whole team.’”

Spurs may feel aggrieved at Eriksson's assessment, but the table backs him up. Chelsea finished 4th under Claudio Ranieri the season before Abramovich arrived, while Tottenham finished 10th in Glenn Hoddle's final full season in charge. 

While Chelsea splashed the cash after Abramovich rolled into town, they did already have John Terry and Frank Lampard on their books – the spine of a team that would propel them to huge success during the noughties. 

Eriksson also opened up about his feelings at losing the England job as a result of a sting operation from the News of the World. 

“I feel very bitter about that. Barwick sacked me and I said, ‘Why?’ Is it like I told you some time ago that the ruler of England is the News of the World, and the ruler of the FA is also News of the World?

“No, he said. But Sunday mornings I want to sleep.

"I was not his man. I was [former chief executive] Adam Crozier’s man. He saw the chance and whup, I was gone.”

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