Mauricio Pochettino has hailed the hardball negotiation skills of chairman Daniel Levy, which Manchester United could get a taste of this summer if they pursue the Tottenham manager.
Pochettino is understood to be United’s first choice to take over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once the Norwegian’s caretaker stint at Old Trafford is done at the end of the season.
Any approach United may make is almost certainly to be met with disdain by Levy, who is renowned as a fierce negotiator, not afraid to upset people in securing the best deal for his club.
Spurs in the past have sold players at will to United, with the likes of Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov all swapping White Hart Lane for Old Trafford.
Levy put an end to that, ensuring Spurs held on to the likes of Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld in recent years amid supposed United interest.
And Pochettino praised his chairman’s approach ahead of United’s Premier League visit to Wembley on Sunday.
“Daniel is, you know very well, he is so tough to negotiate with him, for the clubs, it’s so difficult, different clubs in England to do business with him,” he said.
“It’s not an easy person to do business [with].
“Of course you need to give the credit because when he was here, 15, 16 years ago, Tottenham was a completely different club, was a club that was fighting in mid-table, with mid-table facilities.
“And today we are in the top for facilities and in the last few years, the club is fighting with the big sides. That is massive credit to him, of course.”
While others have suffered at the hands of Levy’s approach – Sir Alex Ferguson memorably said his hip operation was less painful than dealing with the Spurs chairman – Pochettino has always had smooth dealings.
The Argentinian, who does not have an agent, negotiated himself a bumper five-year contract with a hefty pay rise in the summer.
“For me it was not difficult – I think it was more difficult for him than me,” he said. “It was difficult because I am the manager and he cannot upset me.
“If we are talking about extending a contract or giving me more money, you need to be careful.
“With agents, you can talk very openly and say anything that you want and the agent will manage the situation.
“But when you are talking directly to your manager, you need to be careful because one word can change the negotiation or change your mind.
“For him, that was new and it was tough every time he needed to talk to me.”