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Old 6th June 2005, 09:13   #1
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Default How Chelsea made swoop for Arnesen

How Chelsea made swoop for Arnesen
By Mihir Bose Telegraph 06/06/2005

Frank Arnesen, Tottenham Hotspur's suspended sporting director, first came to Chelsea's attention last summer when he held a similar position at his previous club, PSV Eindhoven, and helped them to complete the 12 million signing of the Dutch winger Arjen Robben.

They stepped up their interest last month when the banker Eugene Tenebaum, who is Roman Abramovich's right hand man, wrote to Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, asking for permission to approach the highly-rated Dane to become Chelsea's football director.

Tenebaum said that he was writing to Levy because, under the Premier League rules, clubs are forbidden to ask an employee of another club to break his contract.

Levy replied the same day denying Chelsea that permission. Two days later Chelsea rang Levy and Levy again denied them permission. However, if Levy felt that was the end of the affair he was mistaken.

At the bottom of the original letter was a simple message, quite often seen on official letters, but which turned this particular piece of paper into a lethal document which will figure in any action Tottenham might take. It said the letter had been copied to Arnesen.

This meant that while Levy had denied Chelsea permission to talk to him, in an indirect way Chelsea had approached the Dane. He knew Chelsea wanted him and it did not take him long to tell Levy that he wanted to go to Chelsea.

Over the next few days there were several meetings between Levy and the Dane at the end of which, on Wednesday afternoon, at about the time when Chelsea were being found guilty of making an illegal approach to the Arsenal defender Ashley Cole, Levy knew the managerial team he had taken so long to build had been fractured. Arnesen clearly felt his prospects were better in West London.

On Thursday Levy drove to the Leicestershire countryside to attend the two-day Premier League annual summer meeting. Outwardly he gave no indication of the upheaval about to hit White Hart Lane and said he was happy with Arnesen and the team he and Martin Jol were building at Tottenham.

But privately he knew the score and once the Premier League meeting was over on Friday afternoon he held a private meeting with Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman, and Peter Kenyon, the chief executive.

During the discussions it became clear that Chelsea had agreed a deal with Arnesen.

Levy said he would be seeking compensation as he felt Chelsea had broken the Premier League's rules.

Tottenham's lawyer, Nigel Boardman, ironically the same lawyer who advised Arsenal over the Cole affair, advised Levy that Arnesen should be immediately suspended from his duties.

Furthermore, since Arnesen was a senior employee and Tottenham were listed on Alternative Investment Market, the suspension should be made public.

This not only meant that Arnesen was now locked out of White Hart Lane and the training ground but led to Tottenham's Saturday lunch-time announcement of the suspension.

Chelsea responded with their own explanation saying they had approached Tottenham and kept to the rules but Tottenham responded by saying that by copying the letter to Arnesen Chelsea had violated them.

The whole affair promises another interesting legal battle similar to the one between Chelsea and Manchester United two years ago when Chelsea poached Kenyon from Manchester United. Chelsea not only had to pay a transfer fee but Kenyon was also made to go on gardening leave.
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