Daniel Levy and the gentle art of persuasion
It used to be that Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy was the master of brinkmanship in the transfer window. Never the first to blink in the school of hard knocks that is high level negotiations, he always seemed determined to squeeze the best financial package for his club from any transaction. Such a stance has seen many eleventh hour deal struck – and a few fallen as well. This season however, the head honcho appears to be a man newly discovered of the pleasures of retail therapy.
The early phases of the transfer window were very much the Levy of old. It was a ‘No’ to Madrid over any Bale deal. It’s not happening. ‘No hay posibiliad!’ Of course, people weren’t convinced of the statement, just the likelihood that should the Welshman go, Levy would make the Spanish aristocrats wait, and the deal would not be to Spurs’ disadvantage. Both, of course, came true. It wasn’t however the ‘credit’ side of the club’s ledger that betrayed an apparent change in Levy. It was in their spending. Flush with the promise of the Bale money, Levy loosened the Spurs purse strings and laid out over £100million on new squad acquisitions. All of this being done and dusted before the signatures were on the Real Madrid contracts. One wonders what would have happened if for some reason Bale had not gone to Spain. Doubtless, Levy had it all sorted and sealed though, if not quite signed and delivered.
A further change of image for Levy was also revealed by recently by Christian Eriksen, I the way he was recruited and persuaded to sign for Tottenham. The final signing of the club’s Magnificent Seven acquisitions, the Dane signed a full three days before the window closed for a reported £11.5million. The story is related in Eriksen’s words in an article on The Telegraph online. Apparently Levy and Director of Football, Franco Baldini, flew to Amsterdam determined to get the deal completed as quickly as possible. Eriksen picks up the story. “The first contact was with my agent and then my agent talked to me and I said, ‘Go on, I really want to hear what they have got to say. The day after my agent was (in London) to look around and see everything and talk with the big men, then the day after, they all went to Amsterdam to negotiate with Ajax. The next day, I was here for a medical. It went really quick. Just four days. It really impressed me that they wanted it so badly and wanted to do it so quickly.” Apparently whatever the pair had to say struck a chord with the Dane. He goes on to relate that “The club wants to be in the Champions League next season, for sure, and then we have, of course, to become champions. That is why he spent so much money on good players and that is just the sort of thing I want to be part of.”
It was clearly a case of the Levy charm offensive being successful, and if the Spurs chairman can combine this new approach with his hard-bitten financial toughness, going forward, the club will have a strong negotiator in their corner come January and next summer.
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