The simmering row between Tottenham Hotspur and Seville intensified last night when Jose Maria del Nido, the Spanish club's president, put a £60m price tag on Daniel Alves and Freddie Kanouté, taunted Tottenham that they could never afford the pair and threatened to make the north London club pay for their behaviour over Juande Ramos.
Spurs' new head coach was reported this weekend as having identified Kanouté, the former Tottenham striker, and the Brazilian full-back Alves as two players he wanted to bring with him to White Hart Lane.
But the overtures received a frosty reception from Del Nido, still spitting feathers over losing his coach to the Premier League in mid-season.
He said: "It takes a lot of money to buy Alves and Kanouté at the same time. I doubt very much that Tottenham have the money to buy them. If they want to buy them in the winter transfer market, they will have to pay their buyout clauses."
Alves has a contract until 2011, with a clause of £42m, and Kanouté's deal runs until 2009, with an £18m buyout. Del Nido, who also repeated veiled threats about reporting Spurs to world football's governing body, Fifa, for tapping up Ramos, became defensive when asked about two of his biggest assets.
He said: "Seville does not want to sell any of its stars. The English clubs, who seem to always be looking at our players, should know by now that when we want to keep our players we keep them.
"Tottenham will get the response from Seville that they deserve. And that response will be to channel all our energy into getting what we deserve after the way they have behaved.
"Here in Spain, we are not used to treachery existing between football clubs. Nowhere in European football has something like this happened before with the season under way. I will leave it for Spurs and their fans to take a look at themselves and define their behaviour."
Asked whether Seville would use Fifa tapping-up regulations to force Spurs to pay more for Ramos, Del Nido said: "I can assure you that we at Seville will pour all of our energy and all of our force into making sure that Tottenham pay the consequences of this situation. This is a situation that they have illegitimately provoked. We will do everything in our power and use all the means at our disposal to make sure of that."
In stark contrast to Ramos's bitter departure from Seville, Gus Poyet yesterday made an amicable exit from Elland Road and will be unveiled alongside the Spaniard in a press conference today.
The former Spurs player was officially named yesterday as Ramos's No 2 and will work alongside the physical trainer, Marcos Alvarez, under the new head coach. Leeds granted Tottenham permission to speak to the 39-year-old Uruguayan and he made the switch after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed compensation package. A Leeds statement read: "The club would like to thank Gus for his efforts over the past 12 months and wishes him every success in his new role. He leaves with the best wishes of everyone connected with the club."
After Ramos makes his first appearance as Tottenham head coach alongside Poyet today, attention will turn to rescuing Spurs' season. If that involves bringing in new recruits in the winter transfer window, attention will no doubt inevitably swing back to his old club, where both Kanouté and Alves have in the past hinted that they would fancy a switch to the Premier League, having previously been linked with Newcastle United and Chelsea respectively, both as recently as last summer.
Tottenham have also been linked with Seville keeper Andres Palop and central defender Julien Escudé.
Palop was diplomatic when asked about the possibility of an exodus of Seville players to Tottenham. "It's difficult to see people leaving right now because we are here fighting for some very important competitions," he said, "but Tottenham is a very important club with a very impressive history behind it, and it should be fighting with the big teams.
"Here the players are connected with the club and we have an exciting season. But you never know in football as we can see with what has happened with Juande," Palop added.Reuse content