Former Tottenham scout, David Webb has opened up on the challenges that the North Londoners faced in the transfer market during his time at the club and admitted that a lack of investment held the side back from being able to reach the next level.
Webb, who also held recruitment roles at Southampton and Bournemouth before moving to the board level at Ostersunds and Huddersfield Town, has explained on how Spurs went about identifying their transfer targets during his time in North London.
He admitted that Spurs were keen on analysing the psychological profile of their targets and that his expertise in that area is was part of the reason the club hired him.
Webb told The Daily Mail: “It’s about a blend and everybody has to be on board. You’ve got to combine the stats with human character traits, backgrounds, cultural and social understanding. The scouts need to be kept fully involved in that process. Don’t become consumed by stats.
“Tottenham liked the work I’d done on psychological profiling of players for Bayer Leverkusen, because when you’re looking to pay X amount for a player, you have to understand what you’re bringing them from, their background.
“You can’t see body language and a player’s response to pressure on a laptop. You have to amalgamate everything: stats, scouting, character profile and the financial parameters. Tick, tick, tick, tick. Every department has to buy into that though. Then you’re negotiating the contracts and taking them to the owner.”
Webb also admitted that the Lilywhites’ inability to compete with their rivals in the transfer window meant that the club had to operate smartly.
While he revealed that the club’s approach sometimes held them back, he insisted that it also meant that players only came to Tottenham for the right reasons.
He added: “It’s always stricter at Tottenham and that has good and bad merits. To compete the way Tottenham did – finishing second twice while I was there – meant the foundations were good.
“But Mauricio could only do so much. From a financial point of view, if you want to win those elite trophies, you have to go a little bit higher.
“The flip side of that is that you’re getting players that are going to buy into the club values, and are not coming just for the money. Son started off slow but then flourished. Mauricio was happy to develop. But to really compete, you know, maybe one or two (more) could’ve helped.
“The advantage we did have was that Mauricio was the best teacher at that time. Toby Alderweireld, Kieran Trippier, Son and Dele Alli, were all bought for lower fees but are now top-class players.”
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Pochettino constantly repeated his intention to build a team of “good human beings” and so it is not surprising that the psychological profile of players was just as important when it came to assessing targets as their on-pitch attributes. While it is clear that Mourinho also likes signing players with a specific mental profile, it is evident that his demands are very different from Pochettino’s. Nowhere does it come across more clearly than the Spurs boss’ repeated insistence that the squad his predecessor left behind at the club is “too nice”.
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