Hull City boss Steve Bruce claims that he came close to signing Chelsea captain John Terry for Huddersfield when he was manager of the Championship outfit back in 1999.
The Tigers coach reveals that he made a £750,000 bid for the former England international, which was accepted by Chelsea, but rejected by the defender himself.
Bruce said that Terry grabbed his attention when he was taking his coaching badges at Nottingham Forest, where the centre-back was on loan, and knew instantly there was something special about the Chelsea hero.
“John came out of training with just a T-shirt on and it was freezing cold. I thought, Christ, who’s this?” the 54-year-old was quoted by the Daily Star as saying.
“Anyway when I got the Huddersfield job, I enquired about him and I was very, very close to signing him. We were that close with the fee but John turned me down in the end.
“I remind him now and again how different it could have been and what a great decision it was to stay at Chelsea. But I have always had this respect for John,” he continued.
“He’s a terrific player and for me he’s still England’s best centre-back.
“Yes, at times he lacks a yard of pace but you very rarely see him exposed. And the one thing which stands alone is that he’s a competitor.
“Money and fame, Premier League titles and European titles have never changed him. He’s still got the hunger and desire which a lot of young players should look to because he’s been there, done it, worn the T-shirt and still has fierce pride about him,” Bruce added.
“Sometimes the word great is used too much – but he’s a great player. The big dilemma for everybody is where do you replace John Terry.”
The Blues skipper will certainly have no complaints in dedicating, so far, his entire professional playing career to the West London outfit – becoming a legend at the club, and their current third all-time appearance holder.
Terry is right now celebrating winning his fourth Premier League trophy with Chelsea, as they clinched their first trophy since the 2009-10 season following a nervy 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho’s men have won the trophy with three games to spare, and will finish the season on 92 points if they win their remaining fixtures – just an agonising three points off the points record of 95 set by themselves in their title-winning 2004-05 campaign.