Striking a deal for David Raya should be easy, but it won’t be, as Tottenham, namely Daniel Levy, disagrees with Brentford’s £40 million valuation of the Spanish goalkeeper.
Usually, when personal terms are agreed upon, an official transfer announcement isn’t far off.
But Tottenham’s transfer dealings rarely follow a conventional script, with Daniel Levy known for haggling so much he often alienates the club he’s negotiating with.
Matthew Benham, Brentford’s majority owner since 2012, is renowned for developing players and selling them to the highest bidder.
Usually amenable to selling top assets, as clubs like Brentford historically are, Benham is happy to sell Raya on one condition: The would-be suitor pays the £40 million asking price.
Tottenham, particularly Levy, rarely pays the asking price early in the transfer period, or at all, for that matter.
Aside from a few exceptions, most notably the purchase of Richarlison, Tottenham does its business at the tail end of the transfer window, trying to get the best possible price and outmaneuver the sellers.
It’s a risky game, particularly with other clubs showing interest. The Daily Telegraph reports Manchester United’s peripheral interest in Raya.
While Erik ten Hag has more pressing transfer priorities, United has the funds and influence to swoop in anytime and highjack what is perceived as Tottenham’s deal to lose.
Raya has agreed personal terms with Spurs, so his enthusiasm and willingness to join the club cannot be questioned.
However, the more prolonged negotiations stagnate and stall, the more time Raya has to ponder the prospect of going to another club.
And therein lies the rub.
Benham has made it clear that Brentford would rather lose Raya on a free transfer when his contract expires next year than cave in on their £40 million asking price.
Equally and oppositely, Levy will probably remain firm on his stance that Raya, based on only one year left on his contract, among other reasons, is not worth £40 million.
If Levy doesn’t acquiesce and agree to pay the £40 million asking price, another team, like United, will.
Which won’t make much sense considering Tottenham’s other goalkeeper option, AC Milan’s Mike Maignan, will cost even more.
For now, we’re stuck in an agonizing holding pattern, waiting patiently for Levy or Benham to blink.
In the meantime, the sharks, AKA United, lurk in the background, waiting for the chance to pounce, pay the £40 million, and steal the 27-year-old Spanish prize from under Levy’s raised nose.