Kevin Keegan has revealed that Toni Jiminez did not want to sign Per Mertesacker during their time together at Newcastle because his colleague had not heard of the German.
In his new book, My Life in Football, Keegan reveals how he struggled to bring players in during his second managerial stint in charge of the Magpies, with Tony Jimenez and Dennis Wise in charge of transfers back in 2008.
As quoted by the Chronicle, Keegan writes: “Jimenez had positioned himself as a football expert but it turned out this bewildering character - the man in charge of Newcastle’s recruitment, no less - admitted during discussions about potential transfer targets that he had never even heard of Per Mertesacker.
“Can you believe that? Mertesacker had made his debut for Germany four years earlier. He was recognised as one of the outstanding players in the 2006 World Cup and had been an ever-present for his national team when they reached the final of Euro 2008.
“He was one of the best defenders in Europe and would go on to win over 100 caps for his country.
“Yet Jimenez didn’t have the foggiest who he was. I tried my hardest to retain a sense of humour and, somehow, I could laugh on occasion at the absurdity of it all.
“But there were other moments when it made my head ache to think what they were doing to a famous old sporting institution. It was an incredible story, but a sad one, mostly — and I had never known anything like it at any other football club.”