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Danny Rose the rebel causes thorny problem for Daniel Levy and Spurs

The Tottenham chairman, renowned as a tough negotiator, risks a major mutiny if he does not increase wages significantly

They tell a story at Manchester United that probably sums up why the previous regime at Old Trafford had a policy never to do business with Tottenham Hotspur and Sir Alex Ferguson once remarked that hip surgery was more enjoyable than trying to find common ground with Daniel Levy when it came to money. It goes back to Luka Modric’s final season at White Hart Lane when Ferguson was tipped off that the Croat would be keen on a move to Manchester to fill the void left by Paul Scholes’s retirement. In ordinary circumstances, Modric would have been the ideal fit. These, however, were not ordinary circumstances. Ferguson had never forgotten what it was like dealing with Levy in the protracted transfer saga he referred to as “the Dimitar Berbatov carry-on” and when he raised the matter with David Gill, United’s chief executive, the two men agreed they didn’t have the stomach to go though the same again. As good as Modric was, they simply couldn’t countenance another negotiation involving the Spurs chairman.

As football administrators go, it is certainly difficult to think of anybody else with Levy’s reputation for driving the people with whom he is negotiating to the point of spontaneous combustion. Ferguson, to put it into context, regarded Modric as one of the finest passers in the business and, five years on, probably still thinks the same. Yet he and Gill preferred to watch the player join Real Madrid rather than reopen lines of communication with Spurs. Gill had been there before with Levy and, to borrow a line from Billy Wilder: “I’ve met a lot of hardboiled eggs in my time, but you’re 20 minutes.”

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