Why Tottenham are biding their time in the transfer market

Why Tottenham are biding their time in the transfer market

Daniel Levy isn’t like any other chairman in the Premier League.
The Tottenham transfer mastermind, on the face of it, has made a slow start to the summer window.
As we approach mid-July no one has been signed, while a cluster of players have been sold – Nadil Bentaleb to Schalke, Clinton N’Jie to Marseille, Federico Fazio to Roma.
This is despite the bombastic cash war taking place elsewhere in the Premier League, led by nouveau riche Everton, which has had media outlets’ transfer spending totalisers spinning out of control
But Levy is very much his own man – by all accounts a gentle and charming individual in social situations but utterly ruthless in negotiations.
In the poker world he would be feared. When he plays a hand you know there is only something in it for him.
And so we arrive at Kyle Walker.
The right back will soon complete a £50million move to Manchester City – setting a new world-record fee for a defender.
Walker had fallen out with manager Mauricio Pochettino and has been angling for a move since April but Spurs fans still refuse to believe Levy would be willing to let him go.
England’s first-choice right back, one of the top performing defenders of the past two years… why would the chairman feel comfortable flogging him to a title rival?
For Levy it’s all about the art of the deal. An unsettled player plus one huge offer equals a simple decision.
It’s become impossible to define the value of footballers, such has been the impact of the £5.14billion TV rights deal which has flooded the Premier League with money and drowned all the sense.
But Levy knows the value of money itself – he knows he has an £800m new stadium to finance and he knows he is going to need to hand Pochettino a sizeable cheque if the Argentinian wants to add real quality to his squad ahead of next season.
Tottenham fans might voice their concern over a perceived lack of action in the transfer market but Levy is the sniper on the rooftop not the machine gunner on the ground. He’ll wait and toy with his sights before going for the killshot.
Over the past decade there are numerous examples of Spurs waiting until the final two weeks of August to do their business – most famously the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid four years ago.
Usually these delaying tactics work better for the selling side as buyers try to hurry through deals, opening themselves up to more compromises along the way, and Levy has been accused in the past of leaving Tottenham hamstrung in the early season. Their points per game return in August since 2005 is a meagre 1.48 – worse than Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. And many others.
But Levy is astute. He must know he and Pochettino will be hard-pressed to find players better than what Spurs already have, particularly given his reluctance to break a very rigid wage structure at White Hart Lane.
When Walker completes his move to City, Levy will have raked in more than £70m this summer and barely weakened his squad at all.
Then the signing season can truly begin.

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