Tottenham seeking to block Arsenal's striker options... again?

What could lie behind the conflict over Tottenham's deal to sign Dimitar Berbatov, recently linked with a transfer to Arsenal?

For a player who has looked entirely disinterested this season, Dimitar Berbatov has found himself surprisingly in demand this transfer window.

Early on he was prominently linked with a transfer to Arsenal, a cut-price addition to boost their title chase.

Most recently however it is Berbatov's former club Tottenham who are reported to have the edge to sign the Bulgarian.

The Mirror report that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has lined up a £1.5 million deal to bring Berbatov back to Spurs.

Yet their claims are counterbalanced in the same article with the assertion Tim Sherwood does not want the striker, and is happy with his current options despite Jermain Defoe's impending departure.

So why is chairman Daniel Levy insistent on an early clash with his new manager at such an early point into Sherwood's tenure?

Is it because he knows best, does he want to just provide options for Sherwood, or does the long-standing rivalry with Arsenal play some bearing?

Normally the answer would not be the latter, but this is Daniel Levy after all.

Levy attempted to ward off any deals between Arsenal and Real Madrid by delaying the sale of Gareth Bale to the Spaniards, only to be unsuccessful when the Gunners clinched the signing of Mesut Ozil in the late hours of deadline day.

Then last week it was claimed also by The Mirror that Levy was refusing to sanction any transfer or loan of Lewis Holtby to Schalke, for fear it would open the door for Arsenal to sign Julian Draxler.

So could that same strategy be playing a part again? While Arsene Wenger downplayed rumours regarding Dimitar Berbatov in the first week of January, their options are running out.

Jackson Martinez says he is not moving this month, as does Alvaro Morata, while any deal for Diego Costa at this stage looks unlikely.

Could Levy be gambling that Arsenal may look to snap up an available striker at the last minute who happens to be closer to home? 

If so, and his hunch is that they could return to Berbatov, his attempt to do a deal with Fulham makes sense, aligned with the fact he is claimed to be enforcing the deal on Tim Sherwood, rather than pushing for a deal which his manager wants.

Given Levy's past acts of brinksmanship in the transfer market, such a calculated move from the Tottenham chairman can't be entirely ruled out.

images: © TottenhamFan, © Doha Stadium Plus

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