Apr 6, 2017
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Tottenham round-up: Three Europe-based players linked with club; Mauricio Pochettino contingency plan lined-up

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They left it late, but Tottenham Hotspur got the job done at the Liberty Stadium with an eventual 3-1 win over Swansea City to ensure the gap between themselves and Chelsea remained at seven points, after the Blues ground out a hard-fought win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

For long periods though, it looked like it could be the final nail in the coffin of Spurs’ faint title hopes, as they trailed up until the 88th minute to former Spur Wayne Routledge’s early opener for the Swans. But Spurs, as Pochettino warned title rivals Chelsea in recent days, have a newfound resilience, and a Dele Alli equaliser plus stoppage-time strikes from Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen will send out a strong message that the North Londoners are not prepared to give up the ghost just yet.

Despite this, the wheels are already in motion off the field ahead of next season to help strengthen Spurs into a side that can contest the title even more closely, and to this end, reports from Italian outlet Tutto Mercato and the Daily Mirror claim that the club have been scouting players from the Serie A and the Bundesliga in search for talent to add to the ranks over the summer. The players believed to be under the watchful eye of the White Hart Lane outfit are Inter Milan duo Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gerson Murillo, plus RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita.

Tutto Mercato claim that Spurs scouts were at the San Siro having been tasked with watching Kondogbia and Murillo during Inter’s 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria on Monday night, though their endeavour hit a snag when Murillo finished up an unused substitute, with Kondogbia also starting on the bench before coming on at half-time.

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France international Kondogbia has struggled to recapture the form he showed before his switch from Monaco in 2015 during his stint with the Nerazzurri, and the report claims that Spurs are particularly keen on an acquisition.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Keita has shot to prominence with Bundesliga newcomers Leipzig this season, with six goals and eight assists for the side currently second in the German top-flight, with his impressive performances arousing interest from around Europe according to the Mirror’s report. This has reportedly proved enough to tempt Spurs into the chase for the Guinea international, who joined Leipzig from fellow Red Bull franchise Salzburg of the Austrian Bundesliga over the summer.

His contract with Leipzig is set to run until 2020, but Spurs will be eyeing up the midfielder ahead of their Champions League group campaign next season, on the basis that they qualify, after Dele Alli’s red card in the Europa League against Genk ensured he will miss the first three games of Spurs’ European adventure, whenever it resumes.

Whether the moves materialise or not, the pursuit of the players concerned would occur under the watchful eye of manager Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine having hinted he will remain at the club after distancing himself from the Barcelona job, which will become vacant this summer with current Nou Camp boss Luis Enrique set to step down at the end of the season.

There may still be concern over the future of Pochettino, however, regarding the current situation surrounding the Argentina manager’s post. Current boss Edgardo Bauza is under fire with the Albiceleste struggling in World Cup qualifying, and Express Sport believes that the current Spurs boss may be in the reckoning to replace beleaguered boss Bauza, should the Argentine Football Association opt to oust him.

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Were the unthinkable to happen though, and Pochettino be prised away from White Hart Lane in a shock move, Italian outlet Tutto Mercato believe that Tottenham have lined-up current Roma boss Luciano Spalletti to become the next Spurs chief, as a contingency plan.

The report claims the club would prefer the Roma boss as Pochettino’s successor were the Argentine to leave, and have apparently already drawn up a three-year contract worth £3.9million in the event of a Pochettino departure. Spalletti’s future at the Stadio Olimpico is very much in doubt, with the side second in Serie A but with little chance of overhauling Juventus at the top, and it is thought the Italian may depart the club this summer if the club fails to secure the Coppa Italia, the last realistic opportunity for silverware that the club has on the agenda this campaign, having already exited Europe.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by JuveBalkan Portal.

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Tottenham Hotspur · Transfer Round-up

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

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