Tottenham‘s announcement that they are to report Liverpool – and Manchester United – for their pursuit of Robbie Keane – and Dimitar Berbatov – is merely their way of preparing fans for the exit of two key players.
Reports on Friday suggested Keane’s arrival at Liverpool is close, with some claiming personal terms had been agreed and all that remained was the players’ medical. The fee is said to be close to Â£18m for the record Republic of Ireland goalscorer.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s comments regarding the breach of rules with regards Rafa Benitez’s public statement of interest to sign the player seem more likely to be a PR stunt designed to prepare their own supporters and make it appear they had no option but to sell the players once we had “illegally” acted.
“The behaviour of both clubs has been disgraceful. We told both clubs very early on that we had no interest in selling Robbie or Dimitar, respectively, and that they should refrain from pursuing the player. Both clubs arrogantly chose to ignore this request and we now have evidence that both clubs have systematically been working to prise the players away from us, outside of PL rules of conduct.”
Yet Spurs manager Juande Ramos had just a day earlier said:
“The idea is to sign good young players with quality and a good future and if we get good offers for older players to study them to see if it benefits the club. At the moment they [Keane and Berbatov] are both with us, but whatever happens, the idea is to have a squad with the potential to improve on last season.”
If ever a manager was preparing for the exit of a player it is surely there.
Furthermore, Spurs should maybe take a look at themselves having recently been in the news after ‘persuading’ John Bostock to leave Crystal Palace at the age of 16.
Or how about former Spurs manager Martin Jol’s public comments about David Bentley being their “number one target” last summer? Or Tottenham‘s alleged illegal approach for coach Gus Poyet from Leeds. Or what about, most famously, the dirty way they sacked Jol and approached Ramos? Take this line from The Telegraph from the time “It is not the first time Tottenham have been caught out in clandestine talks with a candidate for the manager’s chair at White Hart Lane.”
That report continued: “Just over three years ago the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was pictured leaving the Hilton Hotel near Heathrow Airport after meeting former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as the club sought a successor for Glenn Hoddle.
At least Spurs had a vacancy to fill back then, having sacked Hoddle 10 months earlier.
This time around Martin Jol is still very much in the hot seat. But it is growing abundantly clear that he is facing the same fate as the former England manager. The meeting with Sevilla coach Juande Ramos, at the Hotel Rey Alfonso last Friday is the firmest indicator yet that Jol’s days are numbered.
A club spokeswoman insisted yesterday that Tottenham were not in “negotiations with anybody in respect to replacing Martin Jol”.
Tottenham were unable to provide any satisfactory explanation yesterday for the pictures of the meeting between Spurs vice-chairman Paul Kemsley, club secretary John Alexander, Ramos and his agent Alvaro Torres, published by Seville newspaper Estadio Deportivo on Saturday.”