After their best season in recent memory in Mauricio Pochettino’s second season in charge of the club, Spurs will be looking to go one better this time around and get their hands on the most illustrious prize of all – the Premier League. Despite other sides strengthening enormously, Spurs can still be considered contenders for the domestic crown in the 2016/17 season, and here’s why:
1. They came so close last season
The managers of sides who lose the Champions League final have; in recent times at least, forced their squad to watch the winners lift the trophy. Bayern Munich did so against Chelsea back in 2012, at Jupp Heynckes’ request. Legends of the Bavarian club were in tears; Lahm, Muller, Neuer. What relevance does this have? The following season, Bayern destroyed Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-final. They beat rivals Borussia Dortmund in the final 2-1.
To have come so close, yet so far the previous season gave them the experience to propel onwards, and to take the chance the second time around. Spurs last season were forced to take a back seat during Leicester’s miraculous title drive, but this experience may well prove invaluable next time around.
2. They have one of the best managers in European football
Before making an immediate assumption, this really is not an overstatement. Argentine Mauricio Pochettino is a fantastic developer of young players, and has completely transformed several at the club, including Danny Rose and marquee signing Erik Lamela.
Rose himself has revealed in a recent interview on the club website that Pochettino told him that he would be an England international if he bought into Pochettino’s aggressive pressing system. Two years into Pochettino’s era, and Rose was one of England’s stellar performers at Euro 2016, and looks to be battling with Luke Shaw, who is returning from a long-term injury.
Others, like Harry Kane, have been steadily introduced to the first team, and have taken the Premier League by storm – Kane won the Golden Boot last term, and will be looking to add to his impressive tally. Pochettino is also not afraid of making big decisions. He has moved on players that simply aren’t good enough, with Paulinho, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul and Andros Townsend all sold or released. The five-year contract bestowed upon the Argentine is testament to the amount of progress he’s produced in such a short term.
3. The squad is even stronger this season
Pochettino said right at the start of the campaign that “when you spend a lot of money you are not happy with your squad or your players and you are desperate to improve your squad”. He may well be right – the immense amount of money poured into both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool reveals that their squads aren’t good enough. Yet this isn’t a problem that affects Pochettino at Spurs, who is adamant that his current crop of players is good enough to challenge domestically.
Therefore, the total amount that Spurs spent on transfers – around £70 million – is justified, despite that figure being half of what both Manchester City and United spent. Of course, the new stadium detracts from transfer finances, but Spurs have added depth to their squad that was missing last season, and have held on to all of their key players.
They are seemingly going from strength to strength, and it would be unsurprising to see them replicate their form that saw them nearly win the Premier League.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Steve McMetha