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Does Tottenham’s wage structure threaten Mauricio Pochettino’s legacy?

Rob Meech

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This is a landmark season for Tottenham Hotspur. As they bid a fond farewell to White Hart Lane, an iconic ground that has hosted football for more than a century, their highest Premier League finish beckons as runners-up to champions Chelsea. Moreover, for the first time in 22 years, Spurs will finish above arch rivals Arsenal to claim the north London bragging rights. With Mauricio Pochettino, whose reputation continues to rise, at the helm, the future looks bright.

Tottenham will decamp to Wembley Stadium next season to enable construction work on their brand-spanking new 61,000-seater home to be completed. An arena befitting an elite Premier League outfit it is sure to. One designed to put Spurs on a level playing field with the likes of Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs. Financially, Tottenham are currently punching well above their weight, with a considerably lower wage bill than that of their rivals. It makes their achievements all the more remarkable. But considering the stadium is costing in the region of £800 million, it’s only natural to conclude their activity in the transfer market may be restricted.

Speculation has mounted recently that Kyle Walker, as reported by the Manchester Evening News. The right-back who has enjoyed a stellar campaign, is wanted by Manchester City and has become unsettled as a result. Danny Rose and Eric Dier have also been linked with moves to Manchester United this summer, as per the Daily Star. It is easy to understand why their heads might have been turned. Walker is rumoured to be earning £70,000 per week at Tottenham, a figure he could comfortably exceed if he were to move to Pep Guardiola’s City. The same applies to Rose and Dier with United.

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Football is a short career and no player should be criticised for maximising his earnings. Yes, at the very top it can be extremely lucrative and, as such, supporters do not look kindly on their heroes chasing pound signs. Tottenham have so much going for them right now. The exciting brand of football exhibited by Pochettino’s men has won legions of admirers and is a huge draw for potential targets. Since the start of last season, no club has accrued more Premier League points than Spurs, who will qualify for the Champions League for the second successive year.

But the fact is money talks. City and United will unquestionably spend heavily this summer, while Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are also likely to flex their muscles in an attempt to keep on their coattails. Tottenham cannot be left behind. If a player has multiple options on the table, he will choose the best financial package. And, given the current wage structure at White Hart Lane, that club is unlikely to be Tottenham.

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Spurs have proved there are hidden gems in the lower leagues and throughout Europe. Dele Alli was snapped up for a bargain £5 million from MK Dons two years ago, while Toby Alderweireld was a snip at £11.5 million from Atletico Madrid. However, the club’s scouting network can only do so much. For all the hits, there have also been several high-profile misses, particularly in the aftermath of Gareth Bale’s £85 million sale to Real Madrid.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy may be a notoriously tough negotiator but he must loosen the pursestrings this summer, or risk undoing Pochettino’s sterling work.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

English Premier League

It Tottenham Hotspur sign Cedric Soares, Kyle Walker-Peters must move on

If Tottenham Hotspur want Cedric Soares, then Kyle Walker-Peters should force a Tottenham exit.

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It is being reported by The Mirror that Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for three Portugal internationals this summer. The report claims that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins and, finally, Southampton right-back Cedric Soares are all on the radar of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The former duo makes sense for Spurs, central midfield and wide areas remain a problem for the club. But Soares seems a waste of time and money.

Undoubtedly the 26-year-old is a great right-back, but the report comes in the same week as ESPN reported Tottenham were ready to offer young full-back Kyle Walker-Peters a new deal at the club.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has shown glimpses of real talent during his time at Spurs and will soon be hoping to break into the first-team picture. The offer of a new deal would be a major indicator that the England under-20 World Cup winner has a long-term future at the club.

Signing Soares would be a massive barrier to that end goal.

It would leave Spurs having Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier as well as Soares and Walker-Peters.

If the idea is to sell Aurier, who has failed to convince since arriving from PSG in the summer, then Tottenham should not replace him with an expensive new recruit.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Walker-Peters is ready and waiting to go in the first-team and most fans believe he has what it takes to be a star under Pochettino.

Bringing in Soares would seem something of an unnecessary exercise from Tottenham and one which would surely leave Walker-Peters questioning his role at the club.

Tottenham should instead continue with their pursuit of a new deal for their young talent, who can operate on both the right and left side of the defence. If not, the 21-year-old should seriously consider forcing an exit away from Spurs, as it would appear his chance with the first-team is never forthcoming.

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English Premier League

Aston Villa reportedly not keen on keeping Josh Onomah, so what next?

The talented England youth international has had a mixed campaign at Aston Villa and Tottenham have a decision to make.

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Reports this week have confirmed what has long been suspected regarding Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Joshua Onomah. The talented maestro headed to Aston Villa at the start of the season in the hunt for regular first-team football. But next season he will not be at Villa Park, as the club have decided not to make any move to retain him next term – according to the Birmingham Mail.

This is no shock for Aston Villa or Tottenham fans. Onomah has had a difficult season at Villa Park. The 20-year-old has played plenty of football during his spell in the Midlands. Onomah has featured 34 times for Steve Bruce’s side and scored four goals. But his form has been indifferent throughout the campaign. The second-half of the season saw his form drop off dramatically. Since the turn of the year, Onomah has played just 10 times, mostly as a substitute.

Aston Villa fans were vocal in their displeasure at Onomah’s performances, perceiving him to be lackadaisical and disinterested. Most wanted to see their own talents such as Callum O’Hare and Keinan Davis get a shot instead.

(X during the Premier League 2 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on February 5, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

So what next for Onomah?

He started the campaign with great hope. After playing a pivotal role in the England under-20 World Cup win, many felt this could be his breakthrough season.

But his spell at Villa has just highlighted the fact he is far from the finished article.

As far as a future at Tottenham goes, it is hard to see him not being loaned out again next term. Spurs have ample options in the centre of midfield – with the likes of Mousa Dembele, Moussa Sissoko, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks all at Mauricio Pochettino’s service. With rumours of new central midfield options also arriving Onomah is likely to be loaned out again next season.

If that is the case, Spurs must choose his next location with more care. Villa already have plenty of midfield options and the youngsters coming through led to resentment among much of the fanbase whenever Onomah got the nod ahead of them.

If Tottenham can find Onomah a home in the Championship where he can play regular football week in and week out and be a star for the fans that would be the ideal solution.

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Crystal Palace

Three potential England replacements for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Liverpool midfielder has been ruled out of the summer’s World Cup.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

It looked bad for Liverpool and England when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off during the first half of the Reds’ game against AS Roma in the Champions League and their worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has suffered a knee injury, which will keep him out of the rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup.

This is incredibly harsh news to take for the midfielder, who had been playing the best football of his career under Jurgen Klopp.

Last summer, he made a huge career decision as he chose to leave Arsenal to join top-six rivals Liverpool and, in hindsight, it has been a great move for him.

His influence and consistency have stood out from the centre of the park and England would have benefitted from that in Russia.

However, Gareth Southgate needs to readjust quickly and find a suitable alternative to the Liverpool midfielder.

Here are three players that could replace Oxlade-Chamberlain and receive a World Cup call this summer:

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Crystal Palace

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up an opportunity for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who will now have a chance of making the plane for Russia.

The midfielder has impressed at Crystal Palace and he delivered an assured performance against Germany on his international debut. Although injuries have hindered his progress since he remains one of the only dynamic midfielders available to Gareth Southgate.

Against Germany, he completed 96.2% of his passes and completed four successful dribbles. There were a lot of people that thought the call came too soon, but he looked at home on the international stage and he will be unknown to a lot of the teams England are due to face.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was going to provide the power and pace in the England midfield. Loftus-Cheek may not be as experienced as the Liverpool man, but he can step up and perform a similar role. If he can finish the season strongly, he will have a great chance of making the squad.

England Training Session And Press Conference

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Jonjo Shelvey – Newcastle United

There are growing calls for the Newcastle United midfielder to be called up by Gareth Southgate and they will only increase with the news of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury.

Shelvey won’t be able to step into the same role, but he can provide different qualities and could be a worthy selection for England.

Newcastle’s recent surge up the league table have shown Shelvey in a good light and he has been a major reason for his team’s success.

The 26-year-old dictates the game from deep and has a passing range that can’t be matched by any other English player.

Against Arsenal, he was putting his team-mates in on goal at will and there is a place for his skills in the national set-up.

England have a number of quick attacking players and against better teams, Shelvey would provide a good option.

Southgate will need to set his side up to counter-attack and there is no better player to pick out the runs of Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy than the Newcastle midfielder.

There are risks to selecting the 26-year-old, but he deserves to be considered for the summer’s tournament.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dele Alli – Tottenham

The Tottenham midfielder is going to go to the World Cup. Nobody can debate that, but he has found himself out of the starting eleven during recent friendly matches.

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain may benefit him, as there will now be a midfield position up for grabs.

Alli isn’t as comfortable in a central role as Oxlade-Chamberlain, but his goal threat and intelligent movement means that he could step into the starting eleven and play well.

The 22-year-old has had his critics this season, but a return of eight goals and ten assists in the Premier League underline the quality that he provides to a team.

Southgate will need to make sure Alli knows his defensive responsibilities and that the player carries them out to the letter, as England can’t afford to carry a midfield player.

At the age of 22, this summer could be an opportunity to break out for the Tottenham man.

It would be a risk to start him in a deeper role, but the rewards may be worth it.

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