Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has said that he found negotiating with club chairman Daniel Levy much easier than others have in the past.
Pochettino does not have an agent and negotiated his own contract – a lucrative £8.5m-per-year deal.
And the Argentine joked that he found the talks easy to conduct, despite Levy’s reputation for being difficult to do business with, summed up by Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous quote that bartering with him was “more painful than my hip replacement”.
“For me, it’s the opposite,” Pochettino said.
“For me, if there was one person that was easy to do business with, it was Daniel.
“Historically, other managers were the opponent of Daniel, they always fight with him. I think it’s only me maybe that has a good relationship with him.
“It was not difficult, I think it was more difficult for him than me. 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 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.”
Tottenham are set to endure a second successive transfer window with no new arrivals and Pochettino explained that poaching talent from smaller clubs is not as easy as it used to be.
“It’s true that today the Premier League is so competitive and today for Tottenham to go to, I don’t know, to Southampton and sign a player like they used to do, like with Bale – today, it’s so difficult.
“It’s the same situation that happens with big clubs. Like you say, the example of Manchester [United] picking players from Tottenham, Tottenham picking players from whoever, so I think everything has changed.”
Spurs face Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, hosting a club who are reportedly intent on luring Pochettino away in the summer.