Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has revealed that he wanted to sign Scott Parker when he was Chelsea boss.
The 32-year-old England international joined Chelsea in 2004 in a £10 million (€12.1m) transfer, but spent just 18 months at Stamford Bridge, where he failed to establish himself in the first team.
But Villas-Boas had hoped to tempt him back to west London, while now admitting his delight at coaching the 32-year-old, who is returning to fitness after four months out with an Achilles problem, at Tottenham.
Villas-Boas told reporters: "Last season I thought about him. In the end I opted for Oriol [Romeu] but I spoke with Scotty to come back to Chelsea.
"He’s an important player, an English international and a great professional and somebody of great ability. He can always give you an extra edge on the pitch with his leadership.
"He’s still at the peak of his game. He’s one of the players Roy [Hodgson] counts a lot on. He’ll definitely be involved in the February internationals."
Parker himself admitted that the length of his spell on the sidelines had taken him by surprise, after undergoing surgery following England's European Championship campaign, in which he featured heavily.
"It has been frustrating," he told reporters. "I came out of the Euros, didn't anticipate that it would take nearly as long as it has. I've done a lot of hard work to get to the point I am now and I'm delighted to be back."