Behind the headlines on transfer sagas there are always behind-the-scenes power brokers who hold the key to how things might play out.
For this summer’s most talked about potential transfer it’s no different, with both Manchester City and Tottenham boasting impressive executives who know the future of Harry Kane is at the top of their transfer agenda in this window.
Here are the behind-the-scenes brokers who may hold the key to whether Spurs hold on to their prized asset or Man City land the deal of the decade for the England striker.
Manchester City’s key man: Txiki Begiristain
Why is he important?
The football director, a former teammate of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, is the man who does the hard yards in terms of transfers and contract negotiations.
As part of the player recruitment team, he works closely with Guardiola, Ferran Soriano, group chief operating officer Omar Berrada and the scouting network to identify targets, and work out a strategy and player value.
After that, Begiristain’s job is to go out and bring the target in by approaching the club and the player’s agent, and then negotiating with both. But he operates under a budget agreed by the team, and regulated by Berrada.
What is their current thinking on the Kane deal?
City rarely leak on transfers, unless they do so purposely to advance their interests, and they have said very little on Kane.
But we know he is their prime target, and the club has kept quiet on every aspect of the pursuit other than making it plain that they will not be paying the £160million mooted last week for Kane, or any other player.
Begiristain has closed down speculation about Antoine Griezmann and other supposed targets but have not discouraged anyone from talking up Kane as a top target.
What is their track record on deals like this? Are you confident they can pull it off?
Begiristain is always constrained by an imposed upper limit but he has a decent record of getting players over the line within that scope.
Ederson, Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling were all landed, all for at least £15million less than United paid for Harry Maguire.
But Begiristain is constrained by the imposed limit, and has repeatedly led City away from transfers that cost too much, with proposed deals for Maguire, Alexis Sanchez, Fred and Mahrez – first time round – all falling down as they exceeded the club’s own valuation. ( Stuart Brennan, Manchester Evening News )
Tottenham’s key man: Fabio Paratici
Tottenham’s new managing director of football, who officially started work this month, has very much been on the radar for Tottenham fans but for other clubs’ supporters or those who do not know him from his years at Juventus, he’s now a big presence in north London.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy had wanted to bring the Italian transfer maker to the club for years, and now he’s got his man he’s placing his trust in his decision-making.
Harry Kane’s brother and agent Charlie is also a figure in this saga, but ultimately while he can try to engineer something, the control over his sibling’s future is not in his hands due to the long-term six-year contract they both agreed to sign in 2018.
Why is Paratici important?
The 49-year-old Italian has quickly been making his presence felt behind the scenes at Tottenham and Levy is listening to what he has to say. Having pursued Paratici for around half a decade, the chairman is giving the green light to deals that he may not have previously done so for.
Tottenham are going to be active in this transfer window in bringing in players to transform their squad and chances of success, while clearing out many of the players who should have left in previous seasons. Paratici has been given a major slice of control in doing that, with Levy pushing the button at the end of it.
It’s a big delegation of power from a chairman who is very much someone who has always micromanaged everything at Spurs for 20 years.
What is their current thinking on the deal?
Paratici very clearly said that Harry Kane would not be leaving this summer in a recent interview in Italy and it was something he communicated to those he interviewed for the Spurs head coach job.
Nuno Espirito Santo, the man who eventually got the role, also made it clear Kane would be part of his squad this season and the club reiterated the view this week that there is no intention to sell the player.
It seems to be the view running throughout the club from Levy downwards and the recent media stories, particularly the latest front page story originating from the family wedding, will only see them dig in their heels further.
What is their track record on deals like this?
Well, they’ve kept Kane thus far, despite the same links and often a quote from the striker each year on how he must have silverware on his CV. Last summer it was an interview with Jamie Redknapp, this year it was Gary Neville.
Paratici has experience of the biggest deals. He was the man who helped broker the “deal of the century” for Cristiano Ronaldo to join Juventus from Real Madrid.
Aided by the view that Manchester City do not appear to be willing to bid anywhere near the figure that would start to turn Tottenham’s head, the power very much rests with Paratici, Levy and the north London club. ( Alasdair Gold, Football London )
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Source by Football London