Levy intervention key for Tottenham as true cost of Pedro Porro deal and Marcus Edwards twist is revealed
Tottenham left it mighty late in the January transfer window to finally land top target Pedro Porro and Ben Jacobs has told TEAMtalk about the several factors that were in play as the clock clicked down on deadline day.
The on-off deal was finally announced with minutes remaining in the winter window, with the twist being Porro’s initial arrival on loan with an obligation to buy for £39million in the summer.
The signing at least put the gloss on an otherwise underwhelming window for Spurs, who also landed Arnaut Dajuma on loan from Villarreal.
However, a centre-back and a creative midfield were also on Antonio Conte’s radar for January but none arrived. Meanwhile, talks of a new goalkeeper to replace the struggling Hugo Lloris were always a little fanciful, as that position will be addressed in the summer.
But with Porro now on board and offering a significant upgrade at right wing-back, we’ve been speaking to our own transfer insider Ben Jacobs about how the deal eventually got resolved – and the significant roles Daniel Levy and former Spurs forward Marcus Edwards, now at Sporting, played in it.
Speaking to TEAMtalk, Jacobs said: “So Tottenham’s top priority throughout the entire window was Pedro Porro and it ended up going down to the wire, having a dramatic twist I don’t think Tottenham really saw coming.
“The window had started with Sporting saying ‘pay the release clause or nothing’, and that was €45million (£39m). But there was some debate over when the release clause was active and if it could be triggered at certain points.
“Tottenham never wanted to pay the release clause anyway, no club does. Even if you think the valuation of that release clause is market value, you usually have to pay a release clause in one lump sum. And from a business point of view that’s not what clubs want to do, unless at all possible.
Payment structure now critical in modern transfers
“So Tottenham were looking throughout the January window to try and change the structure of the Pedro Porro deal in order to suit them a little bit better. But they were never significantly off the valuation of Sporting. And this just tells us that in a window, it’s not only about a number but also the structure.
“When Tottenham first came to the table they were looking at €35-37m and then bonuses on top taking it close to a total package of €45m, maybe even a little bit more.
“Often when Tottenham fans see a deal is close that they can’t understand why it hasn’t progressed quicker because if you only look at those numbers, you don’t see the clubs too far apart.
“But how gettable the add-ons are is always an important factor and on top of that the payment terms of the deal.
“However, Sporting stuck to their guns, which is why time was running out. Tottenham thought they had a verbal agreement and had booked a medical, but Porro stayed put and Sporting decided ‘verbal agreement or not’ there was no done deal. That forced the clubs to re-engage in negotiations, and as a consequence, it took it right down to the final few hours of the window.
“There was one point though where for sure the deal looked more off than on. But Porro was a big factor in making it clear to the Sporting hierarchy that he wanted the move.
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“Eventually Spurs and Sporting came back to the table and were able to come to an agreement. This was very tough negotiating by Sporting and it’s what we expect from them.”
Tottenham desperation left Sporting in position of power
Given Tottenham’s stance on deadline day, when they’d already agreed deals to offload both Matt Doherty and Djed Spence, it became clearer they were growing more desperate to get the Porro deal through – and Sporting clearly played on that it.
Jacobs added: “Sometimes if you get the framework of an agreement and then renege on it, it can be tactical late in the window. It was clear to everybody how urgently Tottenham wanted the player. So, therefore, Sporting held all the cards.
“However, Daniel Levy is also an extremely tough negotiator and when it looked like the deal was collapsing, Levy got involved. You then have two tough negotiators going head-to-head and thankfully for all parties it was eventually resolved very quickly.
“Within the negotiations the twist in everything is that Tottenham also, to get the deal over the line, had to surrender a higher sell-on percentage clause of Marcus Edwards’ contract. So Edwards and Porro became linked in getting this one done.
“Tottenham sold Edwards to Vitoria Guimaraes in 2019 and he eventually ended up at Sporting last year. Tottenham decided to forego a 50% sell-on clause with Vitoria, who ended up selling him for £9m. Instead of cashing in then they opted to carry that 50% over to Lisbon.
“Now, in their mind, they thought that was a better tactic. But Tottenham had to give another 15% of the rights to Edwards back to get that Porro deal over the line. Which means they only now have a 35% sell-on clause.
“So if Edwards goes in the summer, which could happen, it would likely be four or five times the fee Sporting paid for the forward. However, Tottenham will only get 35% of that fee.
“That’s a decent bit of business for Sporting, on top of the total package for paid for Porro himself.
“This is significant because Tottenham get their top target but Sporting will make more money from the sale of Marcus Edwards.
“That twist is regarded as very good business by Sporting, but not so good for Spurs.”
We’ll be chatting to Ben every week with a behind-the-scenes look at the Premier League and getting the inside track to bring straight to our loyal army of TEAMtalk readers.