Original football super agent Jon Smith does not think that Tottenham Hotspur paid Newcastle United £30m for France midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
Sissoko was linked to Everton all morning on Deadline Day, with reports from Sky Sports claiming that the Toffees had agreed a £30m deal for the 27-year-old, before his representatives started ignoring calls from the Merseyside club while he completed his Spurs transfer in the evening.
Smith, who describes Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as “charmingly hard work”, told CaughtOffside how he imagines the deal unfolded behind the scenes.
He believes Levy probably agreed the deal in principle way before the final hours of Deadline Day, but waited until the last minute to get the best price.
“If I was the agent for Sissoko and the player wanted to go to Tottenham, and I had Everton, I would do a deal with Everton and try my damnedest to keep them in my back pocket as I tried to engender myself to Daniel Levy.
“I can just see Daniel – he’s a master a this – waking up on Deadline Day morning or maybe a couple of days before, speaking to [Newcastle owner] Mike Ashley and doing a deal.
“My guess is that Daniel was playing the agents, trying to get the best deal by dangling the carrot, saying, ‘come on lads, you really want him to come to Tottenham. I’ll do that deal, but this is what the deal is.
“The key hours on Deadline Day are between midday and 7pm, because it’s a real sweat to get something done between seven and 11. In the end, they stopped taking Everton’s calls in mid-afternoon, which meant the deal was finally being done at Tottenham.
“But the Sissoko party needed Everton as a back-up to strengthen their position with Spurs and in case the deal fell down.
“When Daniel wants something he rarely lets go unless the price goes stupid. But he probably knew both sides – the purchase price from the seller and the agent side from the player was coming together, so he could run that as long as possible.
“I doubt he paid £30m. My guess is it was probably £20m and change with bonuses taking it towards £30m.”
Smith, who recently released a book explaining the little-known details of football transfers, worked closely with Levy to bring Harry Redknapp to White Hart Lane back in 2008.
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