Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says his chairman Daniel Levy is a tough man for rival clubs to negotiate with, but he feels he has an advantage over his predecessors in his own dealings with his boss because he doesn’t have an agent.
Pochettino will face his suitors Manchester United on Sunday, with sources telling ESPN that he remains the No. 1 target as the next permanent manager at Old Trafford.
The Argentine has shown little desire to leave Spurs — indeed he stated just last week that he can envisage himself staying for 20 years.
But he is aware that Levy makes it as difficult as possible for other clubs to rob him of key personnel.
“Daniel is, you know very well, it’s so tough to negotiate with him,” said Pochettino. “It’s so difficult for different clubs in England to do business with him.
“For me, it’s the opposite. For me, if there was one person that was easy to do business with it was Daniel, personally.
“For me it wasn’t difficult — I think it was more difficult for him than me. It’s difficult because I’m the manager and he cannot upset me. If we’re talking about extending a contract or giving more money, you need to be careful.
“With agents, you can talk very openly and say anything that you want and then the agent will manage the situation. But when you’re talking directly to your manager, you need to be careful because one word can change the negotiation or change your mind. I think for him that was new and it was tough every time he needed to talk to me.
“I negotiate harder when I’m talking about my staff. I’m more tough when I talk about them because I feel a massive responsibility when I talk about the people I bring with me, because they depend on me.”
Manchester United used to take players from Tottenham fairly regularly, having signed Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov, but Pochettino believes such transfers are becoming increasingly rare.
“Today the Premier League is so competitive and for Tottenham to go to, I don’t know, Southampton and sign a player like they used to do, like with Gareth Bale, today it’s so difficult,” he said. “It’s the same situation that happens with big clubs, like the example of Manchester picking players from Tottenham, Tottenham picking players from [other clubs]. I think everything has changed.
“Today it’s so difficult to do business in between the English clubs because in the end the market has changed a lot. Today an English player [moving] in between the clubs, it’s so difficult to do business because the market is so high if you compare with Europe.”
United’s caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken advice from Sir Alex Ferguson since taking up his position, and Pochettino is pleased to hear that the 77-year-old Scot — who underwent emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage last year — is back involved.
“I think it’s fantastic news because he is football,” he said. “Sir Alex means football and to be involved in his football club as always is fantastic news after he suffered a massive problem.
“To be involved again, I think for him and for Manchester sure it’s a massive, important thing. Of course I sent [my best wishes] and I cannot hide my admiration and my relationship with him. He always was one of the people I admired the most, an inspiration.
“I think he was one of, or was the best manager in the world, in the history of football, and to have the possibility to see him every day is massive. He is like an encyclopaedia of football.”