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It's Time To Put To Rest The Myth Of 'Daniel Levy: Transfer Guru'

It's Time To Put To Rest The Myth Of 'Daniel Levy: Transfer Guru'
By Gary Connaughton

Daniel Levy has a certain reputation when it comes to transfer dealings.

The Spurs chairman was long hailed as one of the toughest negotiators in the game, extracting every possible piece of value in any deal to sell one of his players. At the other end of the spectrum, he was also seen as somebody capable of identifying talent on the cheap who the club could then develop into top class players.

That standing has been maintained over the years, regardless of how Spurs have actually been performing in the transfer market.

It could now be time to put it to bed.

In a month where it was said that Spurs could make a couple of key additions and take a hold of that final Champions League spot in the league over the coming weeks, this week has dealt a couple of massive blows to those hopes. Having been confident of signing both Adama Traore and Luis Diaz, it now appears that those players will instead be heading to Barcelona and Liverpool respectively.

Missing out on a signing or two is something that happens to all clubs and is not necessarily a reason for concern. However, such issues are becoming an increasingly consistent theme in North London. Both incomings and outgoings have been operating well below the required standard for quite some time now.

In a matter of a few seasons, Spurs have gone from reaching the Champions League final and having one of the most valuable squads in world football to one that possesses few players of any significant value.

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Daniel Levy built his current reputation on a few significant deals in the past. The transfers of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale stand out in particular, with Spurs managing to extract world record fee for the latter.

The £50million deal to send Kyle Walker to Manchester City was also seen as an excellent piece of business. In saying that, it perhaps did damage to Spurs in the long-term.

It seemed Levy would see that fee as the benchmark for any team that wanted to negotiate for a member of that Mauricio Pochettino side. That was the fee sought when Manchester United were interested in Eric Dier and Toby Alderwiereld, while Christian Eriksen was also valued at a similar price.

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At the time Levy was praised for being resilient and refusing to waiver from his asking price. He probably should have.

Eriksen and Alderwiereld would both leave the club for a knockdown price after running their contracts down, while Dier is still at Spurs and now worth about one-fifth of that previous asking price.

Part of being strong in the transfer market is getting a high fee for a player, but it is also knowing the right time to sell. That latter aspect has certainly abandoned Daniel Levy in recent years.

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Dele Alli also falls into that category, although the extent of his drop off in form is something that would have been difficult to foresee. While Harry Kane has rediscovered his form somewhat in recent weeks, it is also highly likely that last summer was Spurs' final chance to bring in a £100milllion-plus fee for his sale.

As bad as Levy's record in selling players has been in recent seasons, his record in purchasing them has arguably been even worse. In truth, a few members of that Pochettino team aside, he has always been overrated in this regard.

Remember that world record fee he got for Gareth Bale? Here is how he managed to blow it that very summer:

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Credit: Transfermarkt

Of all the players signed in that window, only Christian Eriksen would be a real success at the club.

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There were some excellent signings in the couple of years that followed, although recent seasons have been a very different story.

Here are their seven most expensive signings since the start of the 2019/20 season:

  • Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon) - £54million
  • Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis) - £44million (including loan fee)
  • Sergio Reguilon (Real Madrid) - £27million
  • Steven Bergwijn (PSV) - £27million
  • Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) - £24million
  • Bryan Gil (Sevilla) - £22.5million
  • Emerson Royal (Barcelona) - £22.5million

Not one of those signings has hit the heights that was expected of them upon their arrival, with a few already looking like their time at Spurs is quickly coming to an end.

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Opportunities have also been missed to sign other players. Spurs dithered on the deal to sign Adama Traore and now he is heading elsewhere. That is just one example.

All of this should be evidence that Daniel Levy's abilities in the transfer market should no longer been seen as an asset to Spurs. In fact, the opposite could actually be true.

The club will hope that the arrival of Fabio Paratici as director of football can reverse this recent trend, while Antonio Conte will also have his own ideas on who the club should sign. Despite this, it will take some time for them to recover from what was a real position of strength only a couple of seasons ago.

Daniel Levy has to accept the blame for that, perhaps only then will people stop speaking of him in such reverential terms. That ship has long since sailed.

SEE ALSO: The Most Expensive Irish Player At Every Age From 18-35

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