Former Watford striker Troy Deeney has claimed he missed out on a surprise move to Arsenal in 2020 after refusing to apologise for his ‘cojones’ jibe at the club.
Deeney, now on the books at Birmingham, was offered the chance to move to the Emirates Stadium in the wake of Watford’s relegation from the Premier League.
However, he had previously made unwanted headlines after questioning Arsenal’s character following their loss to the Hornets during Arsene Wenger’s final campaign.
After his club dropped into the Championship, Deeney’s comments came back to bite him in spectacular fashion with Gunners supporters ruthlessly mocking him.
To put an end to the feud and seal a move to the north London side, the now 34-year-old was asked to row back on his criticism in a phone call with an official.
Troy Deeney has claimed he missed out on a move to Arsenal in 2020 after past comments
Deeney (left) took aim at Arsenal’s ‘cojones’ after beating them with Watford in October 2017
Speaking on the Filthy Fellas podcast, the striker revealed he refused to apologise for the jibe
But Deeney has revealed he was unwilling to bury the hatchet.
Speaking on the Filthy Fellas podcast, he said: ‘You know I was close to signing [for Arsenal]. The year I got relegated.
‘We lost at Arsenal, 3-2, me and Welbz (Danny Welbeck) scored, we could have probably beaten you, it was that COVID year, behind closed doors.
‘We got relegated on that day, this is at Arsenal, and everyone was like, “Ahhh cojones!” and whatever, “shut your mouth man”.
‘Then, back in training, I’m just on the bike because my knee isn’t right. Someone from Arsenal calls, like, “Yo, would you go to Arsenal? But what you have to do, you have to apologise for that comment.” I said I wasn’t going to apologise for that.’
Deeney eventually joined his boyhood club Birmingham City in 2021 instead.
Tottenham were also interested in Deeney that same summer, though, with Jose Mourinho having identified the frontman as a potential back-up for Harry Kane.
Deeney ruthlessly questioned Arsenal’s character and reluctance to compete physically
After the surprise switch to the Emirates failed to materialise, the ace joined Birmingham
Jose Mourinho was also keen to sign Deeney at Tottenham but opted for another target instead
Nevertheless, the switch again failed to materialise after Spurs looked elsewhere.
‘I was driving to the south of France, it was still COVID times, you couldn’t really fly and all that,’ Deeney added. ‘And my agent phones: “Watford want to get rid of you.”
‘I’m literally like, “Me?” Bear in mind I’m driving in shorts because I can’t put trousers on, my knee’s massive [from an injury he was playing through].
‘My knee is swelling and you want to talk about getting rid of me now? Bearing in mind the last four months I haven’t been getting paid! Because I said to them to keep it, make sure the staff get paid. So now I was taking everything personally.
‘Anyway, I settled down for a week, come back and they’re like, “Will you speak to [Jose] Mourinho at Spurs?”
‘If you remember, the season finished in July and then we were straight back in, it was a quick turnaround. Will I speak to Mourinho? Of course I will, it’s Jose, what do you mean? Like, who’s not going to speak to Mourinho?’
Ultimately, Deeney missed out with Spurs snapping up Benfica’s Carlos Vinicius.