Eden Hazard
Hazard has become arguably Chelsea's most important player since joining in 2012. Getty Images
Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea's Belgian duo Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois both could have joined London rivals Tottenham before completing their respective moves to Stamford Bridge, according to Harry Redknapp.

Courtois, 22, was signed by the Premier League leaders from Genk back in 2011 before spending the next three seasons of his fledgling career on loan in La Liga with Atletico Madrid while compatriot Hazard completed his own high-profile transfer to England from Lille a year later.

Both players have proved instrumental in Chelsea's impressive charge this season under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, yet former Tottenham and QPR manager Redknapp claims that it was only delays that prevented him from taking the pair to White Hart Lane.

"I was with Hazard in Paris, four hours I spent with him. He wanted to come to Tottenham, but the deal dragged on and didn't happen," he said.

"The goalkeeper, Courtois, we had him for next to nothing when he was 17 and that was another deal that dragged on forever and we didn't get it over the line. He should have been at Tottenham."

It is, of course, impossible to accurately speculate to what extent Tottenham's fortunes may have been altered by the arrival of two of European football's brightest young talents, although supporters may be inclined to believe that their club's attempts to escape the relentless cycle of the Europa League and secure regular qualification for the Champions League would have been boosted immeasurably.

Indeed, it might not be altogether foolish to suggest that pairing Hazard with the likes of Welsh international Gareth Bale, who became the most expensive player in football history when he left North London for Real Madrid in September 2013, may well have elevated the club into permanent title contention.

Tottenham's overall success in the transfer market has been mixed over recent seasons, with the windfall received from Bale's departure reinvested in a raft of new signings during the short and ill-fated reign of Andre Villas-Boas.

And while Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela are all proving their ability under the watchful eye of latest manager Mauricio Pochettino, the likes of Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado and defender Vlad Chiriches have struggled to make a consistent impact.

Pochettino's side currently lie sixth in the Premier League, three points adrift of fourth-placed Southampton, but face a potentially difficult task to qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League following Thursday night's 1-1 draw with Fiorentina.

Soldado gave the hosts the lead in the sixth minute with a neat volley but Jose Maria Basanta's second-half leveller means that Tottenham, who started the match with in-form striker Harry Kane on the bench, must impress in the return leg at the Stadio Artemio Franchi next week.

Before that, however, is the small matter of a London derby against rivals West Ham on Sunday.