Danny Rose's future at Tottenham may come down to simple Levynomics
The Spurs chairman is renowned for driving a mean bargain. With Rose approaching his 29th birthday, Spurs' economic model dictates that the left-back's days in North London may soon be over
Danny Rose has forged a reputation as one of the more outspoken footballers, so there may have been an irony that he made headlines with a particularly accommodating attitude. “If I am [at Tottenham next season], great. If not, great,” the left-back argued on Sunday. Few describe their potential departure as “great”.
Under other circumstances, the continued presence of a defender who helped his club reach its maiden Uefa Champions League final would have been taken for granted. Not at Tottenham. Rose said: “It’s the club’s policy to move players when they reach a certain age.” He turns 29 in three weeks’ time. His body clock is ticking, at least as far as Spurs’ dealmaker-in-chief is concerned.
Daniel Levy is renowned for driving a mean bargain; he may lament a failure to sell Rose to Chelsea in 2017 when there was talk of a £50 million (Dh233m) move. It is the sort of fee that Tottenham received for Kyle Walker, their other full-back, and which they will now never recoup for Rose.
The England international could have joined Schalke last year, but it would have been on loan. This may be a third consecutive summer of speculation. Rose is so close to Mauricio Pochettino that he once described the manager as the best friend he has at the club and sufficiently perceptive to realise he has a declining resale value. In Levynomics, that makes him a candidate to leave.
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There are others. Stability was enforced by a lack of signings, but also helped Tottenham advance in Europe. It may have come at a financial cost. Toby Alderweireld could have joined the ranks of the £50m defenders last summer; now his £25m release clause kicks in. Christian Eriksen has said he wants to go; it would be anathema to Levy to let a prize asset go for free when his contract expires in 2020, so the Dane presents a challenge of his negotiating skills.
Perhaps only Levy could have got £11m for an injury-prone 31-year-old in the last six months of his contract, as he did when Mousa Dembele left in January.
In contrast, Tottenham may be writing off £12m on Fernando Llorente, an uncharacteristic signing in that they paid a large fee for a 32-year-old, but he scored the goal that took them into a maiden Champions League semi-final.
Now interest in Marseille right-back Hiroki Sakai feels an anomaly because the Japanese is 29. Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon is a decade younger and a possible replacement for Rose. He would suit Spurs’ style of play and economic model but the complication is that fees for younger players have escalated.
Tottenham missed out on Jack Grealish last summer when they were reluctant to pay Aston Villa’s asking price; the search for a midfielder with Dembele’s ball-carrying ability instead continues.
It raises the issue of where the false economy lies. Serge Aurier was Walker’s replacement, at half the price, but is a candidate for a cull now. The search for value has sometimes taken Tottenham to futuristic punts: Juan Foyth has the makings of a bargain, while Dele Alli undoubtedly was one, but Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Clinton N’Jie have been forgettable failures.
In one of his more famous interviews, Rose urged Spurs in 2017 to recruit higher-profile footballers and “not players you have to Google and say: ‘Who’s that?’”
But two of the costlier buys, Son Heung-min and Moussa Sissoko, came good in their second and third seasons respectively. Buying has never been Spurs’ shortcut to success; not with Pochettino’s £29m net spend. The question for Levy, as much as his manager, is how and where Spurs find value; on and off the field.
Updated: June 12, 2019 11:08 AM