Owen Coyle revealed he nearly signed Leigh Griffiths back when he was manager of MLS side Houston Dynamo between 2014 and 2016, reports The Sun. At the time, Griffiths was struggling for playing time and could have been considering his future.
Coyle’s hopes of procuring his signature were dashed, however, after a substitute appearance led to Griffiths recapturing his form and earning a place back in the starting lineup. He took his time to prove his worth under then-manager Rony Deila and Coyle admitted he tried to capitalise on the situation.
The former Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic manager said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’ve always been an admirer – I think he’s a very, very talented player. There’s no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, I was very close to taking him.
“He was out of the team under Ronny Deila and I was close to bringing him to Houston. I went to a game, he came on as a sub, scored one and made the other one in the second half. And then he just carried on playing every week. From a chance of getting him to America…we never.”
Coyle left Houston by mutual consent in May 2016 and went on to manage Blackburn Rovers (June 2, 2016 – February 21, 2017) and Ross County (September 28, 2017 – March 1, 2018). Griffiths, who joined Celtic from Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2014, has gone on to make 199 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 148 goals.
The 28-year-old has won five Scottish Premiership titles, three Scottish League Cups and two Scottish Cups during his four years at Parkhead. He’s gone on to become indispensable under Deila’s successor Brendan Rodgers and has four years remaining on his current deal.
Stats from Transfermarkt.