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One of the interesting issues with the transfer window is how clubs conduct themselves and the reputation they get as a result, and it could be argued that few clubs have a transfer reputation as negative as that of Tottenham Hotspur.
Much of this seems to come directly from Daniel Levy the chairman of Tottenham. He, it is reported, loves to see himself as a hard man to deal with, a tough negotiator, and one who will not change his mind. The fact that the Mail is reporting that the majority shareholder at Tottenham is telling Levy to sell Kane probably doesn’t cut much ice.
As a result of Levy’s attitude it is suggested that a growing number of clubs in the UK, and now also in Europe, are not even bothering to deal with Tottenham over any transfer in or out. Being an unmoving negotiator is fine, of course, when one has a good hand to play, but in the case of Tottenham and Kane, that isn’t actually how things are. There is one year left on Kane’s contract and it is reported he would like to win something – which Tottenham has not delivered unto him.
And there is a PR problem at Tottenham. Aside from the lack of trophies (I’ll come to that in a moment), Mr Levy’s personal reputation in the game is quite possibly making some clubs take the view that there is no point dealing with Tottenham, so quite simply they go elsewhere and deal with someone who is more amenable to getting deals done.
But to return to trophies, leaving aside Charity Shield wins and draws (they not only list the Charity Shield in their “Major Honours” section as a trophy, even though it is a one-off match, but also those games that ended in draws as trophies), they have won the league twice, the FA Cup eight times, the league cup four times, the Uefa Cup twice, the Cup Winners Cup once, and Division Two (twice).
In response to anyone pointing this out some of their fans will often point out that winning the second division twice is more than Arsenal ever did as Arsenal bought their way into the top flight upon its expansion in 1919.
That is a complete fantasy tale invented by a Tottenham supporter, and happily propagated by the press (the Mirror was the last paper I saw running this a couple of years ago). The full and detailed story of how the 1st Division arranged its expansion at the end of the first world war is given in The 1919 Affair: How Arsenal were promoted to the first division if you are interested. (It’s nothing to do with Tottenham but it is quite an interesting insight into why clubs voted Arsenal into the top division).
I should offer a warning however, there is a lot of information there, so it is quite a long read – in contrast to the allegation that Arsenal bought their way for which the prime evidence seems to be “well, they must have done, mustn’t they?”
Anyway, Tottenham now have the Kane Affair, initially with the thought of him going to Manchester United, but then having thought about Daniel Levy Man U seem to have pulled out. So that leaves Bayern Munich, and I might be wrong but I am not sure Tottenham and Bayern have dealt with each other since the transfer of Jürgen Klinsmann in the 1995/96 season – some years before Levy took over at Tottenham I think.
So I doubt anyone at Bayern knows about Tottenham’s way of doing business. The last German Tottenham signed was, I guess, Lewis Holtby, of Schalke. And I think Thomas Tuchel and/or Jurgen Klopp might have a few interesting words to say about Tottenham’s transfer style, if Bayern use their incredibly large network to pick up such info as they can. And I am sure they will. No one at this level goes into negotiations without getting all the background available.
So I suspect Levy’s negotiating style, along with their current financial problems (not their fault of course, building a new ground with the biggest ever stadium debt just as economics came to an end with the pandemic, but the results are for Tottenham to deal with), and the recent league positions plus regularity of managerial changes will be known to the player and Bayern, and that information may not endear anyone to the transfer.
But the problem for Tottenham is that even with Kane they have not been in the top three for five years, and have not got past round 5 of the FA Cup for five seasons either. Their humiliating exit from the Europa Conference league in 2021/22 in which they were kicked out for failing to fulfill a fixture has also not gone unnoticed, and indeed their official explanation that it wasn’t their fault, doesn’t cut much ice in a campaign in which everyone else managed to play all their games. The main problem here is that nobody wants to pay more than £50m for someone with a year left on his contract, and Bayern have already gone beyond that fee. But Tottenham Hotspur still want more, as they often seem to do.
According to the Independent, Bayern Munich think “a move for Kane is very much on.” But unless Kane really does fear playing abroad, Tottenham are going to lose him on a free in a year’s time. Now they might do that (Levy can seemingly be incredibly stubborn) but really – would he take such a risk?
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- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes