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Pochettino’s lasting legacy

The Boot Room

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When Mauricio Pochettino arrived from the sunny south coast into the capital, people were wondering what methods he would bring with him. I think we all suggested his methodical passing game would fit in nicely at Spurs, his defensive solidity as a manager and tactician would probably work OK also, but curious thoughts were reserved for his transfer policy and how he handled the big personalities at Tottenham.

Tottenham seem to be forever in the back pages of any redtop newspaper, given that if any player is likely to move or someone has impressed overseas or in an international event, then some of these journalists play it easy. Maybe it’s something larger than that, maybe Levy and his cronies like the publicity and leak the information. Or maybe they just don’t keep hold off it as well as others around them, after all, publicity is the easiest form of marketing.

Of the splurge that pretty much symbolised Tottenham over two seasons ago, with the seven purchases that they signed on the back of Gareth Bale’s departure, only three(ish) now remain. Paulinho will now be setting up shop in Guangzhou, China – all the promise Spurs fans were expecting to see will be only visible in rerun footage on social media posts of his dismal miss against Burnley. Vlad Chiriches, if transfer rumours are anything to go by, is heading to Fiorentina and even if he doesn’t, he does have the look like he’s heading the way of Stefan Savic and Matija Nastasic. Ettiene Capoue has finally moved to another London club and seems most likely to succeed in England out of the three mentioned.

The mystery behind which club will be charitable enough to take anti-goal Soldado (I’d put money on it being a Turkish club) remains as a large question given they need another striker due to the over-reliance on Harry Kane and the disappearance of Adebayor’s talent and reappearance of his inflated ego. Erik Lamela was painted on the ceilings of White Hart Lane chapel’s as the divine successor of Bale, but given his injuries and lack of playing time he hasn’t shone in that time, at least not £26 million’s worth (yes, even that Rabona wasn’t worth it). But all is not lost, the signing of Christian Eriksen represents a brilliant coup. Like an exquisite Apple strudel, delicate, light and utterly excellent throughout the year has given Spurs’s transfer panel something to cling on to.

Nacer Chadli will inevitably become a sorry tale, possibly doing “a Capoue” by moving to another lesser English club which is likely to be renamed at some point in the near future “a Townsend”.  But Nacer and Eriksen’s signings have something of the Pochettino mould to them, signing from industrious, philosophy-built sides with not the weight of expectation on them to succeed Bale from the get go. Since Pochettino has come into the Spurs cauldron of rumours and publicity, he’s done a cracking job in keeping it simmering and not boiling over. He’s steadily got rid of deadwood in the ranks, overseeing the departures of Sandro, Dawson, Naughton and Sigurdsson (not deadwood, just unfortunate) in his first season. The bloom of some bloke called Harry Kane was seen as a masterstroke and people soon forgot about some other bloke from Wales.

Erik Lamela will be hoping to stay injury free next season.

Clever purchases all individually under £8 million (which is completely bizarre in the world of Spurs) in goal-keeper cover in Vorm, industrious Welsh left back in Davies, raw but talented Dier and Yedlin and Stambouli who they’ve made a profit on a year later. Moving on a year and similar neat signings in Trippier and Wimmer, who is in the same mould as Vertonghen (left footed, strong and 6ft2) gives them depth at the back and could play a larger part in the Europa League and League cups as opposed to the League.

Rolling into this season, more is expected from Pochettino I gather. He’s building a strong and hungry young squad in which he’s cautious with his purchases, given the team is already settled, but he’s deemed it needs solidifying around the back, giving Vertonghen a much needed respite. Alderweireld at £16 million could be conceived at being a large transfer, but given that both came from Germinal Beerschot and Ajax together and partner each other in the national squad, gives the instinct that they’ll become an excellent centre back pairing in the league. If you have you’re doubts then check this visual.

You still every footballing site and newspaper linking you to who Spurs are after next, uttering worlds like “Spurs set to pip such and such” or “Tottenham leading the pack on …”, but with Poch in charge, they seem calm and collected. Like I said earlier, they’re a bit short up front given that they’re likely to see the back of Soldado and Adebayor, so maybe we’re destined to see there transfer panel kick up a fuss soon, but I wouldn’t be expecting the a large transfer fee on a huge, mercurial Spursy signing. Maybe another Kane will pop out of the bag.

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Chelsea

Willian could hold key to Tottenham landing Anthony Martial

If Manchester United land the Brazilian it would undoubtedly improve Tottenham’s chances.

Jamie Watts

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Manchester United are reportedly preparing a £60 million bid to bring Chelsea winger Willian to Old Trafford this summer, according to reports from the Daily Mail, with manager Jose Mourinho having been linked with an approach for his former star for some time.

Chelsea were unwilling to sell at that time, but it is possible that Willian could be interested in a new challenge after apparently growing frustrated with life at Stamford Bridge, according to recent reports from Sky Sports. He managed a combined 25 goals and assists in 55 appearances in 2017/18, but only 20 of his 37 Premier League outings actually came as a starter.

Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham meanwhile, have become frustrated at United’s assertion that Anthony Martial will not be sold this summer (Sky Sports), after Mauricio Pochettino made the Frenchman his priority target last month (the Sun), as he looks to bolster the supply line to Harry Kane next term.

However, Martial’s revelation that he wants to leave the club could be vital for Spurs, as Mourinho has previously stated that he would never stop a player from moving if they really want the move and the money is right. And he’s backed up his words, selling two-time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata to his current club in 2014.

Photo: Getty Images

The Red Devils are currently stacked in terms of depth for the left wing, with Marcus Rashford struggling to start games over January signing Alexis Sanchez, but wide-right is somewhat scarce and Willian would undoubtedly improve United’s balance for the better.

Although the manager would prefer the Frenchman went abroad, if he asked for the move to north London, Willian’s transfer to United would undoubtedly improve Pochettino’s chances of securing his key man. United will also be buoyed by their recent business with the west Londoners, having surprisingly secured the signing of Nemanja Matic from Stamford Bridge last summer.

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Everton

Gylfi Sigurdsson shows why Everton splashed £45m on his services

Everton fans will hope they see Sigurdsson in fine form next season.

Mathew Nash

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Iceland pulled off another shock at a major tournament, as they managed to hold out for a draw against Argentina. Alfred Finnbogason scored the equaliser after Sergio Aguero had given the Albiceleste the lead. Lionel Messi then saw a penalty saved as Iceland fully deserved a share of the spoils.

One man who was in sensational form throughout the game was Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Only recently returned from a knee injury he was the beacon of quality that Iceland needed. When they needed a player to keep possession he was there and he was a constant thorn in the side of Argentina’s defensive generals.

It was a performance that will remind Everton fans just why they spent £45 million to bring him from Swansea City last summer. It also highlighted that, used correctly. The ‘Iceman’ could be Everton’s talisman.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

When Sigurdsson arrived last season he did so at the same time as two identical players. Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney also joined Everton last summer leaving them overbooked in that area of the field.

With Everton failing to bring in sufficient wide options, Sigurdsson also found himself playing wide left for much of his time at Goodison Park.

What is clear from the Iceland game is that Sigurdsson is best in the number 10 role, playing off of the front-man and hopefully next season that is where Everton will see him. With Cenk Tosun ahead of him, pace out wide and reliable generals behind him in midfield the Icelander will be free to roam and play his best football.

If Everton do that, then they will see more and more of the real Sigurdsson next season.

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Manchester United

Chicharito shows he’s capable of replacing Marko Arnautovic at West Ham in brilliant Mexico performance

The striker was unrecognisable from last season at West Ham.

Jamie Watts

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West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic is still heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, although the club have attempted to deter interest by slapping a whopping £60 million price tag on the Austrian, according to the Daily Star.

Although the price is considerable, it’s conceivable United could match the fee, or something close and Manuel Pellegrini may have to begin lining up replacements, in case a switch to Old Trafford materialises. But the Chilean coach may very well have his man already on yesterday’s evidence, ironically, in the form of former United fan favourite, Chicharito.

Photo: Getty Images

Chicharito made a name for himself throughout his career for his impressive ability to improvise a finish in the penalty area, and his movement, which has led to countless poacher goals. However, his performance for Mexico yesterday could indicate a change of responsibilities for the striker in the future. And West Ham will be thrilled.

Against Germany, he did everything but put the ball away. Non-initiated viewers may have been shocked to find out that the striker went into the match one goal off a career tally of 50 for his country, as he plied for the 90 minutes as a forward linch-pin, connecting play in the final third for almost every counter-attack. His general touch, awareness of approaching defenders, vision to see runners and execution of passes were all sensational on the night.

Photo: Getty Images

It could be argued that his national pride conjured this new style. but now there can be no doubting he has the ability to play the Arnautovic-type role, and in emphatic fashion. And if Pellegrini can tap-into this style, he could already have the Austrian’s ready made replacement at the London Stadium.

Last term the 30-year-old struggled to break into the team on a regular basis under David Moyes, making 33 appearances in all competitions, bagging eight goals and an assist, but his contribution next year could be far more valuable.

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