Greedy Levy? Enough!By: Robert Reed | August 11th, 2012
OK, Real Madrid fans won’t be happy. Likewise Arsenal and Chelsea fans will have their own views but the genuine Spurs fans who criticise Levy’s stance on Modric are missing the point.
Nobody, no matter how biased, can any longer throw the accusation (previously earned) that Spurs are either a selling club or a feeder club and that alone is a good thing.
My main gripe though is those who label Levy as ‘greedy’. Does anyone actually believe that Daniel Levy is sat there vetoing any offer that comes in under £40 million?
None of us without serious ITK knowledge knows the true amounts which are being discussed, but we can guage some opinion using our common sense and our knowledge of how newspapers report things. As time has gone by more of the actual (apparent) truth has begun to emerge and having read many contrasting reports I base my opinions accordingly. This being said, estimates are that Spurs would take around £33 million or that around £30 million with the rest in add ons would be sufficient.
From what I gather Real are not willing to go anywhere near that and are offering in the region of £24 million. I believe that there could be some negotiation as to a little more but that would be spread over the entirety of Modric’s contract with Real.
Now Luka Modric is a world class player. Some may claim rightly or wrongly that he is over-rated but nobody can dispute that he is nonetheless world class. He also has four years on his contract; therefore he has got to be worth in the region of £35 million. £30 million plus ad ons maybe, but not a penny less than £30 million up front.
Real Madrid have an illustrious history of bullying clubs out of players they wish to hang on to, so the fact that some have made them out to be the victims in this is hilarious to me. ‘Mourinho is not pleased’ I see in headlines. If I had a car for sale for £1000 and someone offered me £700 I would politely decline. If they came back and offered £710 I would not so politely decline. If they came back once more and offered £710 again with the added incentive that they are becoming irritated then frankly I would tell them to go forth and multiply themselves.
The key here is that Luka has made it clear that he only wishes to sign for Madrid. If he was open to play for another club (and was not clearly being advised by Real’s representatives) then Madrid would have paid what was asked for the player long ago. As things stand though, they feel they have the leverage to get a world class player on the cheap and are trying to exploit that.
I do not blame them! Levy plays hardball in negotiations and he is not the only one. If Spurs were in the same position I would expect Levy to exploit that situation and he has done in the past. The problem for Real however is that I really do not think that Levy is going to blink.
It should be appreciated that Daniel Levy is representing ENIC, which is in turn representing the interests of billionaire businessman Joe Lewis. Unlike the Glazers, Abramovich and kroenke at rival clubs, both Levy and Lewis are and have always been Spurs fans.
To say Lewis is a shrewd businessman is an understatement. He made a large percentage of his fortune from laying it all on the line predicting that the pound would crash out of the ERM when the Bank of England, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and most supposed experts were banking on the opposite. This was a seriously hard core businessman long before any Spurs fans (who didn’t read the Financial Times) had heard of him and Levy is his right hand man. As such these are not people who are bullied when it comes to contract negotiations. What happens outside of planet football when someone signs a watertight and legally binding contract? They stick to it or have their arse sued. After which they stick to it or get sued again. Levy and Co are used to that world and guess what, that is the real world.
Modric can bleat about ‘verbal agreements’ as much as he likes but it is childish irrelevance as far as top end negotiations are concerned. That said I find it very hard to believe anyway that last year Luka would suddenly take Levy’s word on a move to Madrid in the summer after complaining then that Levy had gone back on a previous gentleman’s agreement to let him leave. Are we to believe that Modric would put pen to paper on a legally binding deal with Levy at his shoulder, Del Boy fashion, saying ‘Yeah, I’ll let you off half of that though if you want. No worries son, stand on me’. If so then Luka needs a new agent.
Imagine if Tottenham signed a water tight 4 year deal to have Holsten (best shirts ever!) as our sponsor. After the first year we decide we want Carlsberg as our sponsor instead. We point blank couldn’t do it, right? ‘Oh, but Dave in accounts said it would be OK’ wouldn’t really cut the mustard in litigation methinks. ‘Oh but we really, really, really want Carlsberg’ would have a similar bearing. Football may think it is different but at the end of the day, it is not.
It has to be said that this is all relative. If Spurs were dealing with an Emmanuel Adebayor then the situation would be different. The reason being that Adebayor is a petulant fool who would sacrifice the fruition of his entire career over an idiotic and baseless point of principal such as this. Indeed that is what he has largely done. Modric on the other hand is (if no genius when it comes to contract law) professional enough and sensible enough to act in the best interests of his career.
What options does the Croatian have? He can go on strike, in which case Levy would destroy him. In business reputation is everything and the thought that ENIC would so publicly cave in and allow a cut price move for an employee because of such behaviour is ludicrous. Modric would face unprecedented legal action against him and any dream move would be replaced with misery at his present club coupled with the loathing of the fans.
He could agree to play but not to his maximum, but how would that help? It would just put any prospective club off bidding for him in future, certainly Madrid. Coupled with the loathing of the fans.
AVB now appears to be making plans for Modric to stay but I’m not saying he will not leave this summer by any means. I am not even saying that Levy will not lower his asking price eventually to get rid of a player who does after all desperately want to leave, although I doubt very much that we will go below £30 million. What I will say though is that Daniel Levy’s astute business acumen and hard negotiating style has turned Tottenham into one of the most prime examples of a non selling club and fans should look to the old days and give credit where it is due.
Some who pine for the days of players being poached as soon as they get a reputation are not comfortable with this. They are out of their comfort zone and do not wish to see Spurs as a big club. ‘What player will sign a long contract with us now?’ they bleat. Well, those who want to play for Tottenham Hotspur will sign a long contract; those who want to play for a club with big ambitions who are making definite and obvious strides towards achieving them will sign a long contract; those who do not intend to bugger off a year or two down the line will sign a long contract. Mercenary prima donnas who see Spurs as a stepping stone to a ‘bigger club’ will not sign a long contract and, frankly, I don’t want them to. Do you?
You can follow me on Twitter @RobertReedUK
Some Related Spurs Posts:
Read the rest of the comments