It has once more been a transitional season for Tottenham Hotspur. Mauricio Pochettino, after a slow start to life at White Hart Lane, has got the team playing some great, attacking football and has led them to a few fantastic victories. However, in recent weeks the Club’s European dreams ended, they lost the Capital One Cup final and their hopes of Champions League football are diminishing with each passing week. This is not a reflection on Pochettino however. The squad simply isn’t good enough to be competing for the top-four spots in the Premier League and nor does it have the depth to compete on four fronts. Pochettino has brought through some talented youngsters into the first team, whilst also bringing back a swagger to the Lane. However, if the Club are to move forward and to progress then major work needs to be done this summer.
Pochettino, Daniel Levy and new Head of Recruitment, Paul Mitchell, will put their heads together in the coming weeks to identify the players the Club wants this summer to take them forward. There have been recent reports suggesting that Tottenham scouts have been attending matches across Europe in recent weeks. This would suggest the recruitment process for the summer is well underway, which is encouraging. The areas the Club will be looking at to improve should be obvious. Defensively the Club have not been good enough, and when you consider that Tottenham have conceded more goals at home than bottom of the table Leicester, then some new defenders would certainly seem to be the order of the day. Furthermore, although EmannuelAdebayor and Roberto Soldado’s deficiencies in front of goal, have led to the rise of academy graduate and current Premier League top goalscorer Harry Kane, the Club need more options up front. Pochettino surely cannot rely on Kane next season to be the only one carrying the burden of scoring goals. They need other options, which currently they don’t have. Without Kane this season then it is unlikely we would view this campaign as relatively promising.
Pochettino also complained last week of the need for more pace in the team. Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela’s struggles for any sort of form or consistency gives Pochettino a reason to view the wide areas as a position of priority. Players such as Rafa, Eduardo Salvio and Kevin Mirallas have all been linked with the Club in recent weeks, and to see new wingers arrive would be no surprise. Additionally, it seems Pochettino would still like to add Morgan Schniederlin to the squad, but that seems unlikely given other clubs interest and the fact that he desires Champions League football. However, it is likely alternative targets are sure to be put forward as Pochettino looks to bolster his central midfield.
Of course, it would be no summer transfer window if the Club did not clear out the annual deadwood, and this summer will be no different. It is clear that there are several players with no future at the Club, who will be allowed to leave for the right price. The likes of Chiriches, Kaboul, Capoue, Lennon, Holtby and Adebayor will almost all certainly be allowed to leave the Club. Then there are others like Dembele, Townsend, Lamela, Paulinho and Soldado whose futures are all up in the air. It seems likely that if a ‘suitable’ offer arrives for any players mentioned in the previous sentence, that the Club would accept. Of course Pochettino will not want too many to leave as not to unsettle the squad, but he has hinted that he wants to reduce the size of the squad to make room for more academy graduates. If reports are to be believed, then the likes of Alex Pritchard, Ryan Fredericks, Harry Winks and Joshua Onomoah will all be given a chance by Pochettino to stake their claim for a spot in next season’s squad.
This summer will be a busy one down at the Lane, as Pochettino is finally given a transfer window to shape the squad how he wants. Expect there to be many departures and some new arrivals as the Argentine looks to build a squad capable of challenging for a spot in next season’s Champions League. However, the Club have an eye on the future and if they feel that there are better players in the academy than on the market, then be sure that the academy players will be given the benefit of the doubt. So far it has worked, and I am sure Mr Levy would like to find a few more ‘free’ Premier League top goalscorers from his academy!
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