Former Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan has revealed that he once tried to sign Real Madrid star Luka Modric, only to have the move blocked by the Magpies' board.

After a successful period in charge of Newcastle during the mid 1990s, Keegan returned to manage the club in 2008 following Sam Allardyce's dismissal. 

Dennis Wise was soon appointed as executive director by owner Mike Ashley, and Tony Jiminez was given the role of vice-president of player recruitment.

Portsmouth v Newcastle United - Premier League

In an extract from Keegan's new book, he has revealed that he was very eager to sign Modric, but was denied by the hierarchy at ​Newcastle.

"At one point I took a call from Luka Modric’s agent to ask if I would be keen on signing the player from Dinamo Zagreb," said Keegan in an extract published by The Times, as per the ​Shields Gazette

"Modric had already been speaking to ​Spurs and his agent was honest enough to explain the move to White Hart Lane was likely to happen.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

"His agent flew up from London. I explained what a great club Newcastle was, how the supporters would adore Modric and how we were looking for someone to spark us off. 

"Then Jimenez piped up. 'Can I come in here?' he said. 'I don’t think Luka is good enough for the Premier League. He’s too lightweight. He’s decent, but he’s not good enough.'


"It was an awful moment and, 10 years on, it needs only a cursory glance at Modric’s achievements to realise what a nonsense it was. Even back then, however, it was laughable."

Modric has since gone on to enjoy a glittering career, shining at Tottenham before moving to ​Real Madrid in 2012. He also managed to win the Golden Ball whilst playing for Croatia at the 2018 World Cup.