Roy Keane once raided the Tottenham reserve ranks when attempting to elevate his Sunderland side from relegation battlers to a top half Premier League outfit.
What seemed like an ingenious scheme at the time ultimately led to the demise of old Roy, who left his post at the Stadium of Light four months after his north London shopping spree ended.
The trio he convinced to trade the nation’s capital for the north east were Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio and Steed Malbranque.
Their acquisition took a sizeable chunk out of the Black Cats’ 2008/09 transfer kitty and undoubtedly contributed to their finishing two points above the relegation zone.
Seven years on, Sunderland have revisited the strategy that almost cost them their Premier League status, though not quite with the same vigour that saw them mine sweep the Lilywhites’ second string seven years ago.
Younes Kaboul is the Spurs benchwarmer they’ve signed, convincing the Frenchman to ink a four-year contract.
Ironically, their seldom-used skipper was originally included in the great reserve team fire sale of 2008, up until, festooned in bubble wrap, the defender decided he didn’t fancy it.
Kaboul “wouldn’t go to Sunderland even if there was an earthquake”, said the player’s agent at the time.
Readers with loved ones in the north east are encouraged not to panic, Wearside has not been afflicted by any natural disasters, Kaboul’s move simply serves as a reminder of the dangers involved with saying stupid things on the record.
Anyway, with the exception of Vlad Chiriches, the 29-year-old may well be the last person Mauricio Pochettino wants manning his rearguard, but the freshly-minted Black Cat, unlike his brethren bought from Spurs before him, may well be the solution to Sunderland’s long-standing defensive woes.
Kaboul’s pace renders him the perfect foil to level-headed, but criminally slow centre-backs John O’Shea and Sebastian Coates.
His Spurs struggles have only recently came to light too; the former Auxerre star was a regular in the side up until an injury-devastated 2012/13 season.
The year-and-a-half he spent at Portsmouth (whose earthquake-immunity prompted him to join ahead of Sunderland in 2008) is testament to how good he can be at a lesser-lauded outfit and the Black Cats will, belatedly, benefit from this.