Fulham vice-chairman Tony Khan has revealed Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was difficult to deal with during negotiations over Ryan Sessegnon, almost resulting in the transfer collapsing.
Levy is renowned for being a tricky customer when it comes to transfer dealings. Manchester United and Chelsea are both said to have been put off doing business with Spurs in the future because of the tactics Levy has used in the past.
And now, Khan has explained why that might be also be the case for Fulham going forwards.
Speaking to Fulham’s official website – as relayed by the London Evening Standard – Khan suggested Tottenham came in with a low offer for Sessegnon at the last minute despite being interested in the teenager for some time, subsequently preventing Fulham from getting their own transfer business done before the deadline.
“We heard from them [Tottenham] for the first time two weeks before the close of the window,” Khan said. “We had been making all our deals under the assumption that Ryan could wind the contract down and they were not going to offer us anything. I was totally prepared for that.
“It seemed like it might be a likely scenario when he still had not heard from them a couple of weeks out, which is why I was doing loan deals where we knew the club would compliant with Financial Fair Play [FFP] rules. We had got three of our top four targets on loan but there was still a lot of uncertainty about what we could do in the rest of the window after we got Ivan Cavaleiro, Anthony Knockaert and Harry Arter.
“It turned out we were not able to buy any players because this transaction had been held up. And when I finally got an offer it was so ridiculously low that I had to make it super clear that we were not going to take a penny less our asking price, which is exactly what we got.
“If it was a penny less than our asking price I was perfectly fine for the player to wind his contract down.
“We were so far apart that 24 hours before the deadline I was prepared for Ryan to stay at Fulham this year. We were going to get every penny that we asked for, and we got every penny we asked for. I wish it had not taken so long. People have said ‘you knew you were going to get the money, why did you not go out and spend it?’ No, until we had every penny in hand I was not going to go out and spend it.
“It was not until the middle of the afternoon on deadline day that we actually had a signed agreement. There were multiple breakdown in the closing days.
“I was glad we had done some deals early [in the window]. But the stuff we did on deadline day was greatly impacted by the sale that went through late on deadline day.
“We got Harrison Reed down to a loan with Southampton that we could do no matter what happened with our sale. Then we had Bobby Reid and another transfer we were trying to do. Bobby Reid I negotiated in loan in the final hours, and the Josh Onomah swap. The transfer I was hoping to get across but was not able to do because I did not have the money.
“The Ryan Sessegnon situation was definitely the catalyst as to why we were not able to get that transfer across. In terms of FFP compliance, it would not have been a move that was suitable for the club if we had not got that transfer over the line.”
Levy has frustrated Spurs fans with his brinkmanship in the past, making late moves for players and sometimes missing out instead of getting the deals done early in the window.
That said, his way of going about things has saved the club money, and being financially frugal has served Tottenham well as they go through a period of transition following the construction of the new stadium.
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