Victor Moses turned down moves to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in 2004 before signing professional terms with Crystal Palace, his former coach has revealed. The Nigeria international is currently an integral part of Antonio Conte's squad at Stamford Bridge, however his route to the summit of English football could have taken an entirely different path.
Moses joined the Eagles academy in 2001 but a full three years before making his senior debut was offered a move to two of the biggest clubs in the country. The England youth international enjoyed a rounded education at Selhurst Park but the early years of his career could have been all so different.
Both Chelsea and Tottenham were monitoring the winger-come-wing-back while he was still playing school football. Moses was eventually dissuaded from joining the pair after his former coach Tony Loizi convinced him progress into the first team would come sooner if he moved to south London.
"So many clubs were after him and then Crystal Palace came in," Loizi told Goal.com. "Tottenham in particular were looking at him for a long time, but I'm glad that he chose Palace. If he went to Chelsea or Tottenham, he might not have made it."
"I said to him: 'look, Victor, there's no way I would hold you back' and I asked him to come to Crystal Palace with me. I went down there after the two-week trial and they were signing the schoolboy contracts. Chelsea were also in for him and I said: 'if you sign for Palace you will get to the first team quicker than at any of the other clubs', and in the end he chose to stay with them after his trial."
After permanent moves to Wigan Athletic and then Chelsea, where he has been loaned out to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United, Moses has returned to west London. Despite being overlooked by Jose Mourinho he has developed into one of Conte's most trusted players and been a near ever-present for the club in the Premier League as well as among the star performers in the Italian's newly adopted 3-5-2 formation.
And Moses will not have to wait long to remind Tottenham once again what could have been when Chelsea host the north London club on 26 November in the pair's first clash of the campaign. Mauricio Pochettino's side trail the 2012 Champions League winners by four points after 11 matches, and will be eager to close the gap.