Levy calls the shots as Balague reveals buy-out clause removed from contract of Tottenham key man
COMMENT By Richard Parks
Mauricio Pochettino’s reputation has been enhanced on the back of a memorable few weeks for Tottenham in which they have brushed aside Premier League big guns and secured a famous 2-2 draw at Juventus after going two goals down.
The Turin masterclass against last season’s Champions League finalists was widely hailed as further proof of the Argentine alchemist’s extraordinary revival of Spurs.
Unsurprisingly, it prompted a deluge of reports linking Europe’s big guns such as Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain with extended summer pursuits of the Tottenham manager.
Sky Sports’ Spanish expert Guillem Balague, who knows Pochettino very well after penning his recent book ‘Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs’, has put the minds of the Spurs faithful to rest with a release clause revelation as he dismissed the likelihood of the 45-year-old quitting to take over at Real in the summer.
In a recent question-and-answer session on the Sky Sports website (12.56pm), Balague explained three reasons why it is unlikely to happen.
“Firstly, Pochettino is creating something special at Spurs,” the journalist said. “Why would he leave?
“Secondly, his new contract (from May 2016) took off the buy-out clause he had in the previous one, which means you have to convince Daniel Levy to let him go. Good luck with that!
“Thirdly, a rumour has been doing the rounds – maybe Zidane wants to leave after this season as there is not much he can win at the club? Then it is time to look for a replacement. [Joachim] Low is admired by Florentino Perez, so are others that are under contract. But there is not one outstanding candidate just yet.”
It will be of great comfort to Tottenham fans that Balague’s revelation means there is no release clause in the manager’s current contract.
There has been speculation that the previous agreement, signed when he joined from Southampton in 2014, incorporated a £10million buy-out price.
As Balague points out, any prospective employer would now need to hammer out a compensation deal with Levy, which, as many football chairmen and executives have found, is about as much fun as pulling teeth.
Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson famously claimed in his autobiography that negotiating with the White Hart Lane transfer chief always gave him “a headache”.
Spurs are in the driving seat now, and the car is purring along very nicely with the chairman at the wheel and calling the shots.
Hanging on to buy-out clause-less Pochettino is more important than, say, securing the excellent defender Toby Alderweireld to a new deal or, even, keeping hold of the feted Harry Kane.
Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world, but the job prospects are short term, as even the very best have found to their cost.
Evening winning consecutive Champions League titles does not provide medium term job security.
Pochettino is far better off working his magic at Tottenham, where he is far more ‘manager’ than ‘head coach’.
Spurs are vibrant, exciting and increasingly on the up. They are destined to stay there if the main man sticks around.
In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed the club are working on deals to sign up FIVE players, with three agreements virtually nailed on.
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