Tony Jiminez has refuted Kevin Keegan's claim that he prevented Luka Modric's transfer to Newcastle and has stated that owner Mike Ashley stopped the deal.

Former Newcastle manager Keegan had claimed that Jiminez prevented Modric's transfer to St James' Park due to concerns over the Croatian's ability to cope with the physical nature of the Premier League. 

However, Jiminez claims it was owner Mike Ashley who had reservations over the transfer and therefore withdrew from the £18m deal. Speaking to the Times, the businessman said: "We flew Modric over to Newcastle, got him to the training ground.

"Everything was pretty much agreed but it was down to Mike. He was given the numbers — a £16 million fee and £2 million commission for the agent — and decided he didn’t want to take the risk."


The 55-year-old continued: "We had a gentleman’s agreement with Tottenham that we wouldn’t compete for the same players. We let Jonathan Woodgate go to Spurs on the basis that we would get Modric, but Mike didn’t want to pay. In the end I told Daniel Levy that we had pulled out and that Tottenham should sign him."

Jiminez also claims that Keegan passed on the opportunity to sign Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri. The Chronicle quotes the Spaniard as saying: "We asked Kevin for a list of players for every position, bearing in mind he had £25 million to spend. 

"Our list included Benzema and [Hatem] Ben Arfa who were young players at Lyon, as well as Samir Nasri. Kevin took one look and called them all chancers."