Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has admitted that he may have swayed Roman Abramovich's decision to buy Chelsea, insisting that it would be easier to win with them than at Tottenham.
Eriksson, who left his role as manager of the Philippines national team in January, had held talks to become Blues boss in 2004, nearly a year after the Russian billionaire became the owner.
They went on to appoint Jose Mourinho and enjoy the start of a trophy-laden era under Abramovich, and Eriksson said he mistook him at first for a driver when initially meeting with agent Pini Zahavi.
"We met at Les Ambassadeurs [a casino and club in London]. There were three men standing there," he said in an interview with The Times. "One is properly dressed, the other is so-so and the third, I thought he was the driver. Of course that was Roman.
“He wanted to buy a club in Moscow so we went to Moscow for three days, Pini, 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.’”
The Blues had secured Champions League qualification the season prior to Abramovich's arrival, which would have increased the club's appeal as a brand and in the transfer market.
Tottenham, meanwhile, finished tenth in the Premier League in the 2002/03 season, and would fail to reach Europe's top club competition until 2010.
They would spend the rest of the 2000s converting to a European recruitment model in an attempt to find gaps in the market, while Chelsea spent hundreds of millions of pounds to kick off the most successful period in the club's history.