Daniel Levy’s savvy negotiation skills make Spurs a force to be reckoned with
The summer may have seen Gareth Bale depart and the likes of Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado arrive but one man remained an ever present throughout transfer proceedings at Tottenham – Daniel Levy.
After overseeing the Welshman’s £86 million move to Real Madrid, as well as deals for seven major new signings, the Spurs chairman appears to have cemented his status as one of the toughest negotiators in the business.
His influence seems to extend beyond the realm of White Hart Lane, with reports from El Confidencial suggesting that Levy even attempted to convince Real to call-off the sale of Mesut Ozil to their North London rivals.
It was the kind of story that would no doubt have made for pleasant reading among Spurs fans who have, over the years, watched on as players and clubs held the Tottenham hierarchy to ransom when it came to transfer dealings.
In 2008, the club were essentially forced into the deal that saw Dimitar Berbatov move to Manchester United, with Levy revealing as much in an interview with the Telegraph.
"We had a player in Berbatov who had refused to play two games for us, having a detrimental affect on the dressing-room," he said.
"We'd known for a year that the player wanted out of this club. The reality is that in modern football the players have all the power."
Fast forward five years though and Levy had evidently learned his lesson, with Spurs holding out for the record fee they eventually received from Real Madrid for Bale.
It was reminiscent of the steadfast approach Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson took with the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to the Spanish club, and served as an indication of their change of status to a team at the top table of English football.
Much of this has been down to the transfer work of Levy, whose hardline approach to transfers was previously demonstrated when the club moved for Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Speaking at the time of the deal, the French club’s chairman and owner Jean Michel-Aulas gave an insight into the methods applied by the Spurs chief.
“I’ve got 25 years of experience as a president of a club and it’s our 16th participation in a European competition in a row. But this is very rare in the football world,” he said.
“The negotiation with the Tottenham directors has been the hardest I have ever had to undergo in these 25 years.”
While evidently tough to deal with, the bottom line of this particular incident was that Levy got the man he wanted for the price he wanted.
And the tough approach applied by the Tottenham chairman appears to be effective, with Spurs landing a string of highly-rated stars like Eriksen, Soldado and Erik Lamela.
His skills aren’t simply limited to European deals either, with Brazilian up-and-comers like Sandro and more recently Paulinho coming into the squad.
The approach taken to the Bale deal could ultimately be applied in any future dealings, with Levy evidently under no illusions that if Spurs want to mix it with the big boys, they must either hold on to their big stars, or wait for the best deal.
He demonstrated thus with the Luka Modric saga, refusing to sell the Croatian to league rivals Chelsea and holding out for another year with the player and the bigger offer that eventually came from Real.
With big names coming in, and fewer players moving on to bigger clubs, Levy may have emerged as the most powerful chairman in the English top-flight.
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