Brian McDermott has revealed Reading made three attempts to sign Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Iceland international Sigurdsson began his professional career with Reading before moving to Hoffenheim in 2010. After a successful loan spell at the end of last season with Swansea, where he scored eight goals and provided four assists, Tottenham signed the midfielder on a permanent deal in the summer.
However, he has spent much of this season on the bench, and Royals boss McDermott did his best to bring the 22-year-old back to the Madejski Stadium for what would have been a club-record fee.
He told Sky Sports News: “We tried to bring him back. We had spoken to Spurs and made three offers. I thought at one stage we had a real chance of doing a deal but unfortunately we couldn’t manage to do it.
“Gylfi is a Tottenham player, but we’ve known him since he was 12, 13 years old and it would have been great to bring him back.”
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said he believes Sigurdsson will prove successful at White Hart Lane give time.
“He is a player who means a lot to Reading after coming through their academy,” Villas-Boas said. “He is a player Brian appreciates and would have been a big boost for them, but we rate him very highly after his amazing contribution for Swansea.
“This season at the moment [is] not going to the level he wants, but the step here is much more difficult than it was at Swansea. We believe in his future here so we couldn't allow him to leave.
“Players are happy when they play more, but without disrespecting Reading, ambitions at Tottenham are higher than Swansea and the player appreciates he has to overcome a tough environment in the competition to get into the team. This is what makes a player like that evolve.”