Harry Kane 'a bit chubby' for Arsenal academy - former director Liam Brady

Liam Brady revealed how Arsenal passed up on the opportunity to sign Harry Kane because he "was a bit chubby" and also said he believes Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League round-of-16 tie with Juventus could go either way.

Spurs head to the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night for the first leg of their knockout tie with Juventus. Brady, who spent two seasons in Turin after seven with Arsenal, said Juve are not a side Tottenham should fear.

That has, in part, to do with Kane, who the Irishman considers one of the top four strikers in the world today.

"He's a lad with a character which pushes him to improve all the time," Brady told Il Corriere della Sera. "He's right up there after [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Robert] Lewandowski. Just look at his statistics. And he's only 24."

But the former Arsenal head of youth development did not always hold that view, much to his chagrin, confirming the club rejected Kane from their academy when he was 9 or 10.

"He was a bit chubby and not very athletic, but we made a mistake," Brady said. "But Tottenham also sent him on loan three or four times in the lower leagues. Yet he's got that determination and is building a great career for himself, and he deserves it."

Although Juventus have reached two of the past three Champions League finals, Brady doesn't expect them to easily advance to the quarterfinals.

"Juve are not favourites," said Brady, who turns 62 on the day of the game. "I'd say it's 50-50. Tottenham are well organised and they have a competent manager and three hugely talented players in attack in [Christian] Eriksen, [Dele] Alli and Kane, who you need to stop already in midfield to prevent them from doing damage."

For their part, Juve have Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, although Brady does not rate them so highly.

"I think Higuain is already past his best," he said. "He struggles to make the difference in Europe -- he's too static. Dybala, meanwhile, is a rising star, but he's no longer a new prospect like he was last season and opponents know how to deal with him now. To win in Europe, you need more."

Brady does think highly of Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri, who is held in high esteem in England.

"If Arsenal, Chelsea or the two Manchester clubs need a new coach, he's on the list," Brady said.