Tottenham has pivoted from David Raya to more affordable options like Giorgi Mamardashvili and Guglielmo Vicario, reinforcing the club’s tightly budgeted summer transfer policy.
The Raya situation is a shining example of how Daniel Levy is conducting Tottenham’s summer transfer business.
Brentford won’t negotiate on their £40 million asking price, even though Tottenham has made their reluctance to pay over £25 million abundantly clear.
Levy believes Raya’s price is disproportionately swollen, saying the fee should be considerably lower considering the Spaniard has entered the final year of his contract.
Conversely, Brentford believes their asking price is accurate and is steadfast in that conviction.
Matthew Benham, Brentford’s majority owner since 2012, has publicly stated that he’d rather see Raya leave for free at the end of the 2023-24 campaign than sell him at a budgeted, slashed rate.
Levy should see the merit in that conviction, especially considering he’s taken the identical stance on Harry Kane.
Raya wants to play for Tottenham and has already agreed personal terms, making the current deadlock all the more infuriating. The 27-year-old said he desperately wants to win a trophy, even pointing to Tottenham as a place to fulfil his career goal.
If that’s not a dream scenario for Tottenham, it’s hard to conceive of what is.
But still, Levy stands unmoved and unaffected, refusing to pay more than their valuation of the Brentford keeper.
The Raya case, while the prime example, is by no means the only one. Tottenham was considered the frontrunner to land James Maddison, who prefers moving to London instead of Tyneside.
Though Tottenham, yet again, refuses to pay Leicester’s asking price, making a move to Newcastle immeasurably more likely.
Levy’s stance on incoming business is hardly surprising considering Tottenham’s eighth-place finish and exclusion from European competitions.
But it doesn’t make it any more palatable.
Despite their recent on-pitch struggles, Tottenham is ranked the ninth most valuable football club. But Levy won’t see it that way. He’ll see the absence of European football as a requirement to spend less on incoming talent.
Levy hired Ange Postecoglou for various reasons, including the Australian’s ability to win on a shoestring transfer budget.
It’s clear that Levy plans on testing that theory as he has no intention of loosening his pursestrings to make life easier on the new gaffer.
Then again, if Postecoglou is as good as most people say he is, maybe purchasing either Mamardashvili or Vicario while losing out on Maddison and Barnes won’t diminish the club’s ability to win.
If Postecoglou fails, no skin off Levy’s back. But if he succeeds, Levy will be perceived as the man who made it happen while not overspending on inflated transfer fees.
I hope the latter is confirmed, as the former would resemble the previous decade, except for a few seasons under Mauricio Pochettino, of a middling on-pitch product.