As Manchester United eye Pochettino, remember when Sir Alex Ferguson said dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy ‘was more painful than his hip replacement’?

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As Manchester United eye Pochettino, remember when Sir Alex Ferguson said dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy ‘was more painful than his hip replacement’?

Painful

In 2008, the Premier League clubs were negotiating the transfer of Dimitar Berbatov, something the Old Trafford boss said was not a pleasant experience

If history has taught Manchester United anything, it’s that dealing with Tottenham supremo Daniel Levy is a pain in the backside. Or hip.

The deal makers at Old Trafford will be well aware of this as they consider trying to make Maurico Pochettino their next manager.

Daniel Levy is not willing to let Pochettino go

The current Tottenham boss is among the leading candidates to take over full-time at the club following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer understood to be simply keeping the seat warm.

Daniel Levy is reportedly ready to fight off United’s advances and it is claimed he wouldn’t even consider letting Pochettino go if their Premier League rivals offered £50m in compensation.

The two clubs have done little business recently and it has been 10 years since United last signed a player from Spurs – something that was painful for everyone concerned.

Back then the club paid £30.75m for Dimitar Berbatov shortly before the transfer window closed in 2008, with 20-year-old Fraizer Campbell moving the other way on a season-long loan as part of the deal.

Man United were forced to pay Tottenham £30.75m for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008

Man United were forced to pay Tottenham £30.75m for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008

“Dimitar is one of the best and most exciting strikers in world football,” manager Sir Alex Ferguson beamed when the deal was done. “His style and ability will give the team a different dimension and I’m sure he will be a popular player with the fans.”

Here, talkSPORT.com looks at the Berbatov transfer and the difficulties involved in negotiating with Levy through this extract from Fergie’s 2015 book, Leading.

It is going to be quite tough for Man United to make Pochettino their next full-time manager

It is going to be quite tough for Man United to make Pochettino their next full-time manager

The manager had just been explaining how painless it was signing Phil Jones from Blackburn in 2011.

“Contrast that relaxed approach with negotiating under pressure,” he wrote. “Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham, nailed us to the flagpole in 2008 when he took us all the way to the last day of the transfer window before agreeing terms for Dimitar Berbatov, Tottenham’s talented Bulgarian striker in whom we had long had an interest.

“When we got wind of the fact Levy was trying to sell Berbatov to Manchester City, we stuck in our oar, chartered a plane and flew the player to Manchester, agreeing on terms with the player and, as I thought, a transfer fee with the club.


“Then Levy came back to us and said he needed Frazier Campbell, one of our young strikers, as part of the deal. [Chief executive] David Gill demurred, so Levy then upped Berbatov’s transfer fee a little. Finally, in order to get the deal over the line, and to add insult to injury, we sent Campbell on loan to White Hart Lane and paid the increased fee. We were up until midnight signing and faxing papers to make sure all the paperwork went through before the deadline expired.

“That whole experience was more painful than my hip replacement.”

You have been warned, Ed Woodward.




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