MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 08:59:32

Pochettino credits tough negotiator Levy for Tottenham progress

Pochettino credits tough negotiator Levy for Tottenham progress
© Reuters
The Spurs manager believes his chairman has created the conditions for the side to compete at the top.

Mauricio Pochettino has hailed the hardball negotiation skills of chairman Daniel Levy, which Manchester United could get a taste of this summer if they pursue the Tottenham manager.

Pochettino is understood to be United's first choice to take over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once the Norwegian's caretaker stint at Old Trafford is done at the end of the season.

Any approach United may make is almost certainly to be met with disdain by Levy, who is renowned as a fierce negotiator, not afraid to upset people in securing the best deal for his club.

Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy has gained a reputation for being a fierce negotiator
Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy has gained a reputation for being a fierce negotiator (Peter Byrne/PA)

Spurs in the past have sold players at will to United, with the likes of Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov all swapping White Hart Lane for Old Trafford.

Levy put an end to that, ensuring Spurs held on to the likes of Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld in recent years amid supposed United interest.

And Pochettino praised his chairman's approach ahead of United's Premier League visit to Wembley on Sunday.

"Daniel is, you know very well, he is so tough to negotiate with him, for the clubs, it's so difficult, different clubs in England to do business with him," he said.

"It's not an easy person to do business [with].

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is one of the favourites to become Manchester United manager
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is one of the favourites to become Manchester United manager (John Walton/PA)

"Of course you need to give the credit because when he was here, 15, 16 years ago, Tottenham was a completely different club, was a club that was fighting in mid-table, with mid-table facilities.

"And today we are in the top for facilities and in the last few years, the club is fighting with the big sides. That is massive credit to him, of course."

While others have suffered at the hands of Levy's approach – Sir Alex Ferguson memorably said his hip operation was less painful than dealing with the Spurs chairman – Pochettino has always had smooth dealings.

The Argentinian, who does not have an agent, negotiated himself a bumper five-year contract with a hefty pay rise in the summer.

"For me it was not difficult – I think it was more difficult for him than me," he said. "It was difficult because I am the manager and he cannot upset me.

"If we are talking about extending a contract or giving me more money, you need to be careful.

"With agents, you can talk very openly and say anything that you want and the agent will manage the situation.

"But when you are talking directly to your manager, you need to be careful because one word can change the negotiation or change your mind.

"For him, that was new and it was tough every time he needed to talk to me."

Ferguson is enjoying an increasing presence back at United following his illness last year, having visited Solskjaer at the training ground lately.

Pochettino, who Ferguson is known to be a huge admirer of, believes that can only be good for United.

"I think it's fantastic news because he is football," he said. "Sir Alex means football and of course to be involved in his football club as always is fantastic news after he suffered a massive problem in the last few months.

"I think to be involved again, I think for him and for Manchester sure it's a massive important thing.

"I cannot hide my admiration and my relationship with him. He always one of the people I admired the most. An inspiration.

Pochettino believes it is great for Manchester United that Sir Alex Ferguson is more involved again
Pochettino believes it is great for Manchester United that Sir Alex Ferguson is more involved again (Martin Rickett/PA)

"I was so lucky with Jesus (Perez) to share with him a very nice lunch in London. After that we keep a very good relationship and of course it's nothing to hide because we are football people and admire these kind of people like him.

"I think all the fans of Manchester United and of course for the players and for the staff always it is to have a person involved every day there is a massive impact.

"And I think he was the best manager in the world, in the history of football. And to have the possibility to see him every day is massive.

"It's like having the big book of Larousse (an encyclopaedia), like a dictionary. And he is like an encyclopaedia of football."


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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer applauds during the FA Cup third-round game between Manchester United and Reading on January 5, 2019
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