Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, has always been one for a shrewd business deal over mindless splashing of cash at the helm of the North London club.
Although Levy recently broke transfer records for the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Tanguy Ndombele in recent years, the Spurs tactician was not always so generous to his managers.
Ex-Spurs gaffer, Harry Redknapp, certainly sounds as if he had his work cut out for him in terms of persuading Levy to free up some cash for the club in the transfer window.
Ex-Spurs coach, Clive Allen, who worked under Redknapp and Levy during his time at Spurs, has now revealed one situation that perfectly sums up why some fans get frustrated at the Tottenham chairman.
Allen claims that at one point, Redknapp identified Man City’s Carlos Tevez and Bolton Wanderers’ Gary Cahill as potential signings. Tevez was, of course, a Premier League star and Cahill went on to become a Premier League winner with Chelsea.
In true Levy fashion, Redknapp was awarded Ryan Nelsen and Louis Saha on free transfers instead.
Allen said (Up Front – as quoted by Football London): “Harry told us during a meeting that there were ongoing discussions with the chairman to sign Carlos Tevez from City. Tevez was a hugely talented player but also tainted goods at that time, having gone on strike after falling out with City boss Roberto Mancini following his refusal to come on as a substitute in a Champions League game.
“City were demanding £25million for him, a valuation which had scared off AC Milan. Harry wanted Daniel to get Tevez either permanently or explore the possibility of a loan deal.
“The other signing he wanted was Gary Cahill. Bolton Wanderers were willing to sell and Gary was talking to Chelsea and Arsenal at the time. He was the centre-back Harry had identified to stop us having those meltdowns where we’d lose 4-0 at Fulham or wherever.
“Now it was down to Daniel. Cahill had conversations with Tottenham but a deal failed to materialise. Instead, he went to Chelsea for about £7m. Talks with Tevez continued but City were apparently adamant a permanent deal was the only option and Daniel decided against it.
“So, instead of landing Tevez and Cahill, Daniel brought in two free transfers in Ryan Nelsen and Louis Saha from Blackburn Rovers and Everton respectively. Steven Pienaar went in the opposite direction as part of the Saha deal.
“Both Ryan and Louis had their merits but this is where Daniel’s understanding of football took us in the wrong direction. I have no doubt Daniel wants the best for Tottenham but he operates with a cold business mentality.
“Yet football is a unique business. Some transfers ask clubs to take an economic leap of faith. The financial logic may be questionable but the football reasoning is sound. If you can afford Tevez, you sign him. Almost any manager in the world would tell you that. Opting against signing Tevez and Cahill was a sensible, prudent business decision but a crazy one from a football perspective.
“Are Tottenham willing to do everything it takes to join the elite? There has to come a point where you make a decision that might be economically challenging but a football no-brainer.
“Ryan and Louis were top professionals. This is not to lay any blame at their doors at all. Would they make us that much better? No, but they would reinforce what we had and would never upset the squad. They were no-risk acquisitions in that regard. But what we needed to do was take a bold football decision.
“There is a chance history is repeating itself under Mauricio Pochettino now. He urged Daniel to ‘take risks’ in the transfer market yet they bought nobody in the summer of 2018. When I heard Pochettino say that, it certainly sounded familiar. He repeated it once the fantastic new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opened in April 2019, telling them they have to think like a big club to win titles.”
Spurs Web Opinion:
I believe that Levy has turned a corner in this respect now. Spurs have grown as a club and they now have a bit of money to spend, leaving the chairman a little less restricted. Having said that, Levy will never let Spurs pile up the debt from mindless spending, it simply isn’t his way.
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