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Darren Eales was Tottenham’s former executive director, spending around four and a half years in N17, with Daniel Levy as his boss. This means that the current president of MLS side Atlanta United knows all about what goes on behind closed doors at Spurs, especially during transfer windows.
Since the arrival of Antonio Conte, the Lilywhites have seen a major improvement both on and off the pitch and there is hope that the upcoming transfer window will be a busy one. On Tuesday, Tottenham announced that ENIC has made a £150million investment, with football.london understanding that the bulk of that will go to supporting the Italian during the transfer window.
It has been known for some time that the Spurs boss would have a post season meeting, to not only discuss his future in north London but also the summer window. football.london understands that the club are confident enough about Conte’s happiness with next season’s plans that Levy will no longer attend the upcoming meeting.
This indicates the good relationship the Tottenham chairman has already built with Conte and in an interview with the Daily Mail, Eales also spoke highly of Levy. “[Daniel] lives and breathes work, lives and breathes Tottenham,” he admitted.
“I know sometimes he gets a bit of stick. He’s a hard negotiator but his heart is fully in Tottenham…from where the club was to the training facility they now have, the stadium – that was through everything Daniel’s done.”
As Eales alludes to, Levy hasn’t been the most popular amongst Spurs fans over the years, with many supporters disagreeing with some of the business he has – or hasn’t – done. However, the Atlanta United president reiterated that the 60-year-old is “always switched on” and “demands a lot from everybody”.
Eales also delved in to transfers and described the night after the Rafael van der Vaart deal, which they did in an hour and 30 minutes, as a “nervy, sleepless” one. The 49-year-old also revealed a transfer secret at Tottenham, whereby codenames are used to keep secrecy on potential transfers, a ploy Eales now uses at Atlanta.
“They had a boring code when I joined [Spurs] that was just A1, A2.” This was to ensure that not even club staff would find out who any potential incomings and outgoings were.
Looking back to 2013 when Gareth Bale made the then world-record move to Real Madrid, Eales opened up on the time where the deal was handed over to him, after Levy had fallen out with Florentino Perez (Madrid president).
“I think it was the night before we finished the deal. It was like two in the morning and I was taking over,” he explained.
“It was almost like: ‘Right I’m done’. That was the most complicated deal – different currencies for different payments because everyone was having an argument about every aspect of the deal.
“Real Madrid wanted it to be lower than [Cristiano] Ronaldo’s… so we had to craft it some way that they could say it was lower – even though it wasn’t. That was just Daniel saying: ‘I want the biggest transfer.’ Once that was happening, he was going to get every last penny,” he added.
Despite the criticism Levy does get from many Tottenham fans, Ledley King has revealed why Spurs need to be “clever” during the transfer window. “You look at [Cristian] Romero, [Dejan] Kulusevski and [Rodrigo] Bentancur, they’ve all impa…