Mauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham to prioritise targets already playing in England when the transfer window opens next month.
Spurs are keen to sign a striker to provide cover for Harry Kane, who has scored 11 goals already this season but remains Pochettino’s only genuine centre-forward.
The Argentine maintains Son Heung-min, Nacer Chadli and Clinton Njie could step in if needed but they are all more comfortable as attacking midfielders – and Njie is now expected to be out until March with a knee injury.
His absence means Tottenham are likely to step up their search for another striker but Pochettino says he would prefer a player ready-made for English football.
“Always it is difficult to bring in players from outside [England],” Pochettino said.
“For them to adapt in the Premier League, to the culture, the language – it is difficult to bring in players from outside. You need to take the right profile.
“I prefer to take players from England first. If we have the option to take players from here, I prefer it – from the Premier League, or the Championship or League One.”
Valencia’s Alvaro Negredo and Michy Batshuayi of Marseille have both been linked with moves to White Hart Lane this week but Pochettino’s comments suggest he may prefer to resurrect a deal for West Brom’s Saido Berahino.
Tottenham had three bids for Berahino rejected in the summer but the 22-year-old’s stock has fallen since then. He has scored only three goals this season and has not started in the league since October.
“It is not easy, the transfer window now is not easy,” Pochettino said.
“You need one specific player and you can find this player but if not, it is better not to take any decision and work hard with the players you have and wait for the next transfer window.
“We track all different places, different positions because it is our job to try to be aware of what is happening in the market. This does not mean we will sign some players.
“It means only that you are aware and you track those players for the next transfer window in the summer.”
One player likely to leave White Hart Lane is winger Andros Townsend, who has not played a minute for the first team since his public spat with a club fitness coach in November.
Townsend was left on the bench when Pochettino fielded several fringe players against Monaco in the Europa League a fortnight ago and the Tottenham head coach suggested a move may be best for all concerned.
“I am happy with his response, the only problem we have is the number of players in front,” Pochettino said.
“Sometimes when you give your place, it is tough to come back into the squad.
“Always when the player doesn’t play, they want to try to find the better solution to play and show their quality.
“Maybe this is a decision we need to speak [about] in the future.”
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