Zenit striker Artem Dzyuba has revealed that Tottenham tried to sign him in January at the behest of coach Jose Mourinho.
The Premier League side were in the market for a new striker to replace Harry Kane, who has been ruled out until May after suffering a ruptured tendon in his hamstring in their New Year's Day clash against Southampton.
Spurs' search for a replacement for their top scorer saw them linked to Real Sociedad star Willian Jose, who is now reportedly close to joining Barcelona, and Krzysztof Piatek before the Poland international joined Hertha Berlin.
Mourinho's men then made a late bid for Olivier Giroud but Chelsea blocked his departure as the transfer window ended without a back-up option being signed.
Dzyuba, who is the Russian Premier League's top scorer with 11 goals and nine assists in 19 games this season, has revealed that he was approached over a potential move to England, but Zenit would not let him leave.
"When Harry Kane got injured at Tottenham, people contacted me. From Jose Mourinho, as I understand it," the attacker said on Russia 24. "But it was the New Year holidays, so Zenit said no. And that’s all.
"If Tottenham really wanted to sign me then I think they would have been more insistent. That is, the interest was real.
"For my part, I said: 'do it, try, and ask what their offer is.'"
The 31-year-old Russia captain says the north London outfit were not the first Premier League team to ask about him, as he insists he could have joined Everton a year ago.
"Last winter, representatives of agent Jorge Mendes came, for two hours we talked and discussed,” he said.
“They had a ready-made option: Everton. I could not leave because we were going for the league title. For me it was an important achievement, because in Russia I had not won it yet. For me then it was important to stay."
Tottenham are currently sixth in the Premier League and four points behind Chelsea, who occupy the last Champions League qualification spot. Their next game is against Aston Villa on February 16.