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Tottenham Hotspur must add experience to side to win silverware

Tottenham Hotspur lacked the experience of Juventus in their Champions League clash.

Mathew Coull

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Tottenham Hotspur were eliminated from the Champions League last night. Two quick fire goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala gave Juventus a 2-1 win at Wembley and a 4-3 aggregate win in the tie.

It was a harsh result for Spurs. Over the two legs, Tottenham were the better team. But in the end two spells of poor defending cost Tottenham, with the first-leg goals also coming in quick succession.

One other key aspect that seemed to cost Tottenham was experience. After the game Mauricio Pochettino suggested that this was not the case. But just looking at the performances of some Juve players last night suggests otherwise.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Harry Kane of Tottenham applauds the supporters following his teams 1-2 defeat during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus at Wembley Stadium on March 7, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli were magnificent at the back. The introduction of veteran full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner gave Juve a big boost. Higuain, wiley as ever.

All four players over 30-years-old and it might be wise for Tottenham to start considering some older heads.

Signing players over 30 is not something Tottenham do. Financially it seems a waste to bring in a player for the short-term.

But in defence and midfield in particular Tottenham could use a player, in their mid-30s, who has played Champions League football before.

Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino did break the mould with the signing of Fernando Llorente in the summer. But it is players of a certain age with those leadership traits that Juve had in abundance that Tottenham must look for.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus celebrates at the end of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus at Wembley Stadium on March 7, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The youthful effort of this Tottenham side is commendable but when they went 2-1 down there did seem to be a lack of leaders. Harry Kane tried to rally the troops, as Heung-min Son. But Tottenham had no Chiellini, no general to march them forward.

Plenty of top veterans will be available in the summer as contracts wind down. If Tottenham want to win silverware it might be time to bring in such players to command the troops.

In time many of these Spurs players will be great leaders, but right now they seem to be lacking.

On a day like last night it appeared to be the very narrow difference between getting the better of Juventus and heading out of the Champions League.

West Ham United

Signing Yaya Toure is not enough to gain support for West Ham board

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Photo: Getty Images.

West Ham United are believed to be close to appointing former Premier League winning coach Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager, and reports indicate that it could lead to a coup signing in his former player Yaya Toure.

The Telegraph make the claims as they say that previous talks between the Hammers and the free agent broke down, but the appointment of the Chilean would smooth matters and may make a deal more feasible.

In truth, the signing may not actually impress West Ham fans all that much. They have grown used to the signing of players who were dominating the game five years ago and are now past their best. The signings of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra over the past year have shown as much with mixed results.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The board are desperately seeking a way to get fans back onside as discontent grows and fans accuse them of not spending sufficiently to back their team and the signing of such a high profile player of immense quality may satisfy those wishes.

That may be the plan, but Yaya Toure made only two Premier League starts in 2017/18 and such a record bares terrifying resemblances to the likes of Andy Carroll, commanding a high wage whilst spending more time in the stands watching on than actually making an impact.

Toure could provide a spark and excitement, there’s no denying that he would be an invigorating addition, but he is not the long-term solution that the club require as fans cry out for players with potential and already at their best. His signing would be a mere distraction.

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Liverpool

Liverpool target Besiktas’ Anderson Talisca would add superb attacking depth

The Brazilian has recorded 28 goal contributions in Turkey this season.

Max Cohen

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Anderson Talisca
Photo: Getty Images

After Besiktas’ 5-1 home win over Sivasspor on Saturday, manager Senol Gunes strongly hinted that star attacker Anderson Talisca would be joining Liverpool this summer.

The possible signing of the Brazilian midfielder would be a superb acquisition for Liverpool, adding depth and quality to the club’s star-studded attack.

According to FourFourTwo, the Besiktas manager confirmed Talisca would be leaving the Turkish club for the Premier League after two years on loan from Benfica.

And Gunes dropped a massive hint that put Liverpool as the possible frontrunners in attaining his signature ahead of Manchester United.

“He might be rivals with Cenk Tosun,” Gunes replied when asked about Talisca’s English destination.

Of course, former Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun plays for Everton– leading many to jump to the conclusion that Talisca is headed to Anfield instead of Old Trafford.

(Photo by Ozan Kose/Getty Images)

The signing would represent a strong statement of intent from the Reds, as Talisca has enjoyed a stunning two seasons at Besiktas and is a burgeoning attacking talent.

In 47 appearances this season, the 24-year-old was involved in an impressive 28 goals, scoring 20 and assisting eight.

And the Brazilian’s past form shows this fantastic season is not a one-off. In 2016/17, Talisca bagged 17 goals and six assists, despite only featuring 33 times in all competitions.

While some might argue that the Turkish Super Lig has a poorer defensive standard than the Premier League, Talisca has proven his worth in European competition as well. In his time at Besiktas, he has notched five Champions League goals, as well as two goals and four assists in the Europa League.

The Brazilian youth international would add impressive offensive depth for Liverpool, as the Reds look to seriously challenge for the Premier League next season.

The purchase of the prolific attacking midfielder would be an ideal first step in assembling a squad that could bring Anfield its first league trophy in over two decades.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have already identified Eric Dier’s £25 million replacement in Wilmar Barrios

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Photo: Getty Images.

Losing first team regulars may not be a complete surprise to Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino, and that may why be reports are indicating that the coach has already lined up an alternative to Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama should either move on this summer.

The Sun say that there is still interest in Dier, who will be at the World Cup with England, whilst Wanyama’s struggles with injury may mean that Pochettino looks elsewhere for the role of midfield enforcer.

They believe the target to be Boca Juniors’ 24-year-old holding midfielder Wilmar Barrios, a Colombian international who plays alongside Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez at international level.

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The youngster has become a key man in the Boca Juniors side but, perhaps unusually, has not caught the attention of many in Europe. Barrios has, though, developed a reputation as one of the best players in South America, particularly in his position, as he has become a linchpin protecting his back four.

That is protected in his very impressive stats, which show that he makes on average three tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per match, compared to the 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions for Dier playing in a very similar role.

Barrios’ intelligent reading of the game has drawn comparisons to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, with both men guilt of diving into tackles on occasion despite all of their many strengths.

He may be raw, with no experience of playing in Europe, but at £25 million he could prove to be a bargain and Mauricio Pochettino’s return home to go on a shopping spree could provide a long-term solution to the holding midfield role which seems as uncertain as ever after the 2017/18 season.

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