Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has controversially suggested that many of Tottenham’s stars could ask to leave the club in the summer if they fail to finish in the top four.
The Lilywhites have finished in the top four of the Premier League for the past four seasons in a row but face a battle on their hands to retain Champions League qualification this season.
Spurs made up some ground on their rivals following the arrival of Jose Mourinho in November but poor results of late have left them eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea.
Merson claimed that if Tottenham do not manage to make up the deficit on the top four, the players could find themselves the subject of potential interest.
With the European Championships coming up in the summer, the 51-year-old suggested that the Spurs players’ heads could be turned by their international teammates who play for other top clubs.
Speaking to Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports (18/01/20 at 12:10 pm), Merson said, “If it’s true about Harry Kane that he’s going to be out for a while, they need a centre-forward – I worry for Tottenham.
“He [Mourinho] came in and they were 11 points behind. He’s been there quite a while and they’re nine points behind. For me, this was a big gamble that looks like it’s gone wrong, in my opinion.
“It’s weird how it works [with the players]. It gets to the European Championships. All of a sudden the players get together and they are away from their clubs. And all of a sudden, chit chat. Then bang! ‘You’re not in the Champions League, my boss says he wants you’. And it works. Don’t anybody sit there and think this doesn’t happen.
“Then they start feeding them and all of a sudden they go ‘I want to leave’ and they never go back to the club. And they don’t go back to the club. This is what Tottenham are going to have [to deal with].
“We have sat here for a long time and people go, ‘Oh, you play for Arsenal’. It’s nothing to do with it. You see this happening a long time ago.”
Spurs Web Opinion
A lot of pundits have been predicting that our top players would want out for at least the last three or four years but the squad has remained intact. If there is one thing we know about Levy, he will not sell any of the club’s top assets unless the player in question themselves demand to leave. Even in a situation like that, he makes it extremely difficult for buying clubs. So I don’t see any big club being able to afford the likes of Kane or Son without violating the financial fair play rules.
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