Tottenham must hold on to Pochettino if they are to progress to the next level
Critics claim Tottenham must win a trophy soon but Tottenham are coming along nicely under Mauricio Pochettino. He is a man Daniel Levy cannot afford to lose.
Tottenham have made great strides under the baby-faced stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino since his appointment in May 2014.
Under the former Southampton boss, Spurs have enjoyed a Champions League knockout game against Juventus, top-four Premier League finishes and FA Cup runs – all while playing an exciting brand of attacking football.
Despite many critics saying the London club must win a trophy soon, Pochettino and his merry men are maturing at an impressive rate.
Barring a complete Premier League meltdown Harry Kane & Co. will finish comfortably in top-four and have a reasonable chance of winning the FA Cup, with a semi-final tie against Jose Mourinho’s stagnant Manchester United at Tottenham’s temporary Wembley home fast approaching.
The same critics demanding a trophy of Pochettino will also tell you that 22-year-old England starlet Dele Alli has looked poor under the Argentine’s guidance this season, apparently unable to nail down a clear role in the team.
Scratch beneath the surface and the stats suggest the former MK Dons man has been exceptional. Alli has found the net on 12 occasions and contributed 14 assists in 38 appearances across all competitions.
Alli is full of praise for his boss
And Alli was glowing in his praise for his boss when speaking to the Daily Mirror, realising his manager’s influence in the bigger Tottenham picture.
“We’ve got a great team here and we’ve got an unbelievable manager. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
“It’s not up to me what we need to do to make the next step but as players all we can do is work hard every day, make sure we’re ready and give our all for the team.
“I think you can see the way we are playing, we are playing well and playing great football,” he added. “Mentally we are strong, physically we are strong and the manager has got us all working together.”
Alli was a Pochettino signing at the beginning of the 2014/15 season, a steal at £5 million plus add-ons. Since then the Spurs manager and chairman Daniel Levy have signed quality operators Ben Davies, Eric Dier, Son Heung-min, Kieran Trippier, Victor Wanyama, Davinson Sánchez and Toby Alderweireld for around £120 million.
Selling Paulinho, Lewis Holtby, Aaron Lennon, Roberto Soldado, Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll, DeAndre Yedlin, Alex Pritchard, Nigel Bentaleb, Andros Townsend (none of whom were good enough) and Kyle Walker for haul exceeding the £120 million mark, represented extremely shrewd business.
Admittedly, Pochettino has learned from past misdemeanours in the unforgiving world of transfer dealings. Tottenham, under the Argentine’s tutelage, signed Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle United for a whopping £30 million, in part because of the midfielder’s performances for France’s run to the final in Euro 2016.
“It is so dangerous to go and scout players in the World Cup because if a player is good, how after are you going to sign him?” Pochettino said to The Times. “Sometimes you need to anticipate, ‘OK, this player can be good for us’ and then he goes to the World Cup but you need to sign before it starts because he is doing well and then you will have competition if they are good [at the World Cup].
“We are thinking and trying to anticipate because it will be difficult if not at the World Cup. If the performance is not good at the World Cup you are going to sign players that have not performed in the way you have expected and if you are going to sign players where the performance is so good it will be so complicated.”
Sissoko the only mistake
The Frenchman remains the only real blemish on Pochettino’s transfer record at Tottenham.
Impressively, Pochettino’s methods appear to be ever evolving as he gains experience operating at the top end of the Premier League. That he has identified the kinks in his club’s recruitment policy is a measure of his intelligent approach to transfers at Spurs.
The Argentine’s canny eye in the transfer market coupled with a knack of cultivating successful youth products may attract suitors, especially from the continent with managerial changes potentially afoot at European football giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
It is vital, however, that Levy holds onto his man if Tottenham are to progress to the much fabled ‘next level’.
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