Sunday 18 August 2019

Pochettino asked to work a miracle for Spurs this summer

Mauricio Pochettino is likely to be outspent by his Premier League rivals again this summer. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino is likely to be outspent by his Premier League rivals again this summer. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Matt Law and Luke Edwards

Mauricio Pochettino is expected to be asked to work miracles with his Tottenham Hotspur squad again next season, with several Premier League rivals preparing to outspend them.

Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, is ready to sanction a £30million move for midfielder Andre Gomes, who has spent the season on loan at Everton from Barcelona, while Tottenham are among a number of clubs to have made inquiries about Nice right-back Youcef Atal, who would cost at least £34m.

Given that Pochettino also wants to add an attacking player to his squad, the summer spend could easily push towards the £100m mark, particularly if the likes of Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld leave, but sources rate it unlikely that Spurs will make more than two or three significant signings.

Spurs ideally need to sign at least one English player to keep on top of Premier League and Champions League home-grown rules, with Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon and Jack Grealish two long-term targets.

Pochettino wants to bring in players who can make an immediate impact, so signing three players who could slot straight in may well satisfy him, and Levy has told supporters that repayments on the new £1 billion stadium will not significantly affect the club's transfer budget.

However, Tottenham are likely again to be outspent by their rivals, with Man United ready to make big moves and Man City planning three or four new signings, with progress already made on Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri, valued at £60m.

Chelsea will also spend heavily if they can get a two-window transfer ban frozen or overturned, while the size of Arsenal's budget will be determined by whether they qualify for the Champions League.

Liverpool are not expected to sign more than a couple of players, but could still spend a significant sum, while Wolves and Leicester City are also ready to move.

Spurs did not spend any money in the past two transfer windows, and Pochettino has admitted the club need to think big to keep competing at the top end of the Premier League and in Europe.

A glance at the subs bench for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final against Ajax showed how Spurs have been punching well above their weight.

There was not a single attacking player for Pochettino to call on and 18-year-old Oliver Skipp, along with young defender Kyle Walker-Peters, were among the seven substitutes.

Tottenham's squad are starting to age and there is a feeling that they may have reached their peak, but this summer is expected to be one of evolution rather than revolution.


Gomes is a specialist central midfielder who would make up for the January loss of Mousa Dembele, while Atal's versatility will appeal. The Algerian is predominantly a right-back, but last weekend scored a hat-trick from the left of midfield.

Spurs have lost 12 Premier League games this season, but remain third in the table and will look to overturn a one-goal deficit against Ajax next week.

Despite being outplayed for the first half-hour on Tuesday, Spurs were far more dangerous in the second period after some choice half-time words from Pochettino.

"The first-half we gave too much space," said Lucas Moura. "The coach said that in the changing room. The second-half was much, much better. We put our intensity up, we were aggressive. But we need to enjoy this opportunity. It's still open, it's not finished. I think we can go there and we can win.

"There were raised voices at half-time, you know Mauricio. He loves to touch our minds and to motivate, he is so good at this. That's why we changed in the second-half."

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