In his first Exclusive Column for caughtoffside, British super-agent Haydn Dodge lifts the lid on what’s really going on in professional football, including Bayern Munich’s plans for Harry Kane, Real Madrid’s promise to Jude Bellingham, the three new employees heading to Chelsea, and much more…
Bayern Munich about to go bet big on Harry Kane…
Antonio Conte is pushing and pushing for more players. His lineup last weekend against Liverpool was him sending a message to Daniel Levy.
Djed Spence is a perfect example. The club made the decision to sign him in the summer, but the manager wasn’t 100 per cent sold on the idea.
The deal to bring him to Spurs was a nightmare. It was a really, really tough transfer to conclude. His agents worked wonders and don’t get me wrong, it turned out to be a good deal for everyone involved but Brentford were waiting for Levy to pull the plug so they could swoop in and maybe, in hindsight, moving to the Bees would have been better for the player. Nevertheless, a number of Premier League clubs are interested in him now so it isn’t like he doesn’t have options.
Another player Conte doesn’t want is Emerson Royal but Spurs know no one is interested so in a way, they’re stuck with him, which is why Matt Doherty is beginning to get a lot more game time.
They also want another centre-back, so there is a lot there for Conte and Fabio Paratici to try and work out. Support from technical performance director Gretar Steinsson, who is very good at what he does, is going to be key in this process.
It isn’t all bad news for them though. Dejan Kulusevski is their best player by some distance at this moment in time, with that evident on Spurs’ current form. He was on the bench against Liverpool and in my opinion, shouldn’t have been, because if you’re fit enough to sit on the bench, you’re fit enough to start the game.
I know some fans will argue and say ‘well, what about Harry Kane? – He’s Spurs’ best player’ – Yes, of course, Kane is up there. We all know he’s a top-class player but Bayern Munich are preparing to make a big play to sign him.
Chelsea miss Marina Granovskaia but three new employees incoming…
The one thing that amazes me most about Todd Boehly is how accessible he is. Most owners are very difficult to get hold of, but Bohely is different. He has removed his entire hierarchy and just said ‘right, I am running this the way that I want to run it’. He isn’t even doing it subtly either. There is a reason why a lot of agents have steered clear of him a bit, however, with that being said, money always talks.
Jonathan Goldstein is a director but he’s a massive Tottenham Hotspur fan, which is common knowledge, so he can’t be at the forefront of Chelsea. Don’t get me wrong, from what I have heard, Goldstein is a great guy but Bohely should know he can’t have him running the club.
I do think that the departure of Marina Granovskaia was a huge blow for Chelsea. She was unbelievable – seriously professional.
Granovskaia, throughout her nearly 20 years at the club, had a clear plan in place from day one and I know some deals didn’t work out as planned, but one thing she made sure of was that their academy continually turned a profit. She made sure all of their extended academy deals, whether loan or transfers, all made sense for the club from a financial and longer-term perspective.
But Granovskaia has gone now and even though there is still some work to be done in terms of senior-level staff, Boehly is about to put an executive board consisting of three people in place.
From what we‘ve been told, the three people in discussions are Stuart Webber from Norwich City, Christian Vivelli from RB Leipzig and Joe Shields from Southampton.
All of them have the pedigree and know the model of bringing young players through from their time spent at Norwich, Leipzig and Southampton, respectfully.
Once this change takes place, one of the players at the top of their list to bring in, in January will be Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, who, in my opinion, is a superstar in the making and Belgium’s future captain.
Tough to manage Chelsea winger is Spurs’ missing piece…
If I were Daniel Levy, I would be offering a deal for Hakim Ziyech because he is potentially their missing piece.
Although prior to them signing Antony, Ziyech could have been linked with a move to Man United due to the connection he has with Erik Ten Hag from his days at Ajax, the player himself, from what I have been told, is quite a difficult character to manage.
I am not sure he would have been a good fit at Old Trafford, but the set-up at Spurs is different and under Conte, things you’d like to think would be different.
All is not well between Anthony Martial and Man United…
On the subject of Man United and potential January signings – every penny will always be scrutinised and chastised due to their public nature. Old Trafford needs a revamp as well, so that’s a big problem and the owners know they are continually under the microscope.
There are talks taking place to sell the club with investment companies in the United States but, as usual, everyone involved has been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements. The Glazers’ valuation is just under £4 billion.
But in terms of current players, it is very obvious that Ten Hag will not play a system that suits Cristiano Ronaldo. You have the likes of Anthony Martial, who isn’t playing, with injuries concerns ongoing for weeks and months at a time. Something clearly isn’t right between the player and the club.
Fitness and injury problems aren’t just exclusive to United though. It’s common knowledge that most of the best medical staff in football have all left clubs and have either set up or now work for private clinics, so now the void is being filled by staff lower down the hierarchy. That is how football clubs are working now. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way it is.
Real Madrid doing all they can to scupper Liverpool’s transfer plans…
It’s no secret – Jude Bellingham is wanted by Liverpool, but even though he fancied the move a little while ago, he’s having some doubts now and that’s because Real Madrid have made him aware of their interest.
They have said they view him as part of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos’ replacement. They want Bellingham to make up a midfield three alongside Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga, and that is a frightening prospect.
He could still go to Liverpool as early as January, but Real Madrid are certainly doing their best to make it difficult for Jurgen Klopp.