Spurs could get huge cash injection from abroad as they seek to secure Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur's desire to keep impressive head coach Mauricio Pochettino out of the clutches of his growing list of suitors could be boosted by Jeff Moorad’s attempt to secure finance to invest in the club.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport in November, former American sports agent Moorad has held discussions with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy over his interest in putting money into the club and appointed a UK-based adviser to help him.
It is understood that since the initial discussions, Moorad has sought extra backing from China and elsewhere, and sources in America even claim a term sheet has been signed over a proposal, although that remains unconfirmed.
Moorad, who is the former minority owner of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres Major League Baseball clubs, has refused to comment on his interest in Spurs and it is unknown whether he is looking at a deal to finance the £400 million new stadium or whether he wants to buy a stake in the club.
Tottenham owner Joe Lewis puts the total value of the club, plus the new stadium, at around £800m and Moorad does not have the personal wealth to launch a full takeover bid on his own. But the promise of major investment from Moorad, and possibly Chinese backers, would be a boost to Spurs and could also help to convince Pochettino to sign a new contract extension and ignore interest from Manchester United and overseas clubs.
Pochettino has just over three years to run on the contract he signed when he took over at Tottenham in 2014. But the club want to reward him for his impressive work that has seen Spurs challenge for the Premier League title this season with a new five-year deal worth £5.5m a year.
The Argentine has insisted he is extremely happy at White Hart Lane, but has also indicated he is in no rush to sign a new contract after warning earlier in the season that the building of a new stadium could make his job more difficult. Pochettino wants to be sure that he will not suffer the same difficulties as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who had to sell his best players and saw spending restricted following the move to the Emirates Stadium.
“I have read a lot about Arsene Wenger saying the toughest period for Arsenal was in the period that they built their stadium and I think you need to know, and the people need to know, that this is a very tough period for us," said Pochettino in February. “We need to be careful because we need to arrive at the new stadium in very good condition to try to fight for everything, and try to show that we are one of the best clubs and teams in the world.”
can't wait to get started pic.twitter.com/5Ju5lTCRZR— Nabil Bentaleb (@nabilbentaleb42) July 8, 2015
Large investment from Moorad, or elsewhere, would help smooth that transition. In 2014, Spurs received a preliminary takeover approach from private investment company Cain Hoy, but the group was unwilling to meet the asking price.
Moorad made his name as one of the leading American sports agents, in partnership with Leigh Steinberg, in the 1980s and negotiated over $3 billion in athletes’ contracts. He was partly the inspiration behind the character Tom Cruise played in the film Jerry Maguire and served as a technical consultant for the 1996 Oscar-winning production, in which he made a cameo appearance.
While Levy has been seeking outside investment to help the new stadium project, Tottenham have seen some of their Premier League rivals negotiate significant cash injections. Everton have recently received a huge financial boost that will help their stadium plans with Farhad Moshiri becoming the new major shareholder, while Swansea City are in talks with a US investment group fronted by Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan.
Meanwhile, French reports claim that Tottenham’s pursuit of Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi is being helped by Pochettino’s old boss Marcelo Bielsa. Former Marseille manager Bielsa is thought to be sending Pochettino, who worked under him at Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, reports and DVDs on Batshuayi’s performances.
West Ham have also been chasing Batshuayi, but the Upton Park club have stepped up their interest in Liverpool’s Christian Benteke by making an enquiry over whether or not the Belgian would be interested in joining them.