Away from all the pre-match excitement surrounding Tottenham’s trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, transfer speculation either for January or beyond continues to be fuelled surrounding the stand-outs in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, and as is the case this weekend, even some of the club’s fringe players.
The latest involved Spurs’ summer recruit Moussa Sissoko, who according to a report in the Daily Express is set to be the subject of a £30million bid in January from Italian champions Juventus. Pochettino is thought to have claimed according to the report, written by the Express’ Neil Fissler, that former Newcastle man Sissoko, 27, has struggled make the grade at White Hart Lane since his deadline day move in the summer, with his cause not helped by a head injury incurred against Middlesbrough and a three-match ban following Spurs’ clash with Bournemouth.
With the Turin outfit thought to be looking for midfield reinforcements to aid their Serie A campaign, and having held a previous interest in the player during the European Championships, the Old Lady may be ready to put an end to Sissoko’s North London nightmare sooner than many may have thought.
Indeed, Sissoko himself wasn’t the first name on Pochettino’s list of summer targets, and was only brought through the door on deadline day after other pursuits failed to come to fruition. The Toon had already agreed a deal with Merseyside club Everton for Sissoko thought to be in the region of £7million, before the player caught wind of Spurs’ bid just minutes before the window closed in August, and his move to Spurs was subsequently completed.
Further speculation emerging from the Daily Mirror concerns a player who has been far more prominent in Pochettino’s Spurs side in recent seasons: left-back and England international, Danny Rose, who the report claims, is attracting interest from both Manchester United and Manchester City.
It is City and their Catalan boss Pep Guardiola who the Mirror reckons to be the more interested party, the Mirror’s Steve Bates writing that the Citizens are set to table a £25million bid in an effort to secure Rose’s services in January. Rose’s speed, eye for goal and willingness to venture forward are thought to be the attributes most admired by the Spaniard, who supposedly believes that a defender of such qualities will be a perfect fit for the system that he is attempting to implement at the Etihad.
The 26-year-old only signed a new five-year contract back in September, but that is unlikely to deter City given their substantial financial backing, and with Guardiola scouting Europe for new full-backs given all of the first-team options on City’s books are over the age of 31, Rose may well be lined up as a priority target.
City scouts are thought to have been monitoring Rose’s progress in recent weeks also, and Guardiola has been impressed with their feedback, although they are set to face competition from local rivals Manchester United, with José Mourinho also in the market for options to strengthen in the left-back position.
United had a known interest in the Spurs defender during Louis Van Gaal’s reign at Old Trafford, but were deterred by the difficulties in negotiating with club chairman Daniel Levy. With Rose now under contract for a further five years and having established himself as England’s first-choice left-back, it will take even more if either club are to prise him away from White Hart Lane.
Aside from potential departures, the report also claims that Pochettino and Spurs may be lining up a January target of their own, in the shape of Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.
The 24-year-old Croatia international has recently signed a new deal at the San Siro but is thought to be unsettled by current circumstances at the club, that have left the Italian giants languishing in mid-table.
The Mirror’s Tom Hopkinson claims that any January deal is likely to be a loan move, with a view to a £12.5million deal to bring the midfielder to White Hart Lane on a permanent basis in the summer.
Elsewhere, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino according to the Daily Mirror has revealed that he is still in regular contact with former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson following speculation over the summer that Fergie had been meeting the Spurs boss with the intention of courting him into a move to be the next Manchester United manager.
The sensational rumours were initially fuelled by photos, which emerged of Pochettino meeting the former United boss for lunch in London back in May, just a fortnight before Louis Van Gaal was given his marching orders.
That was of course before the vacant post was occupied by current Old Trafford boss José Mourinho, with Pochettino subsequently signing a new five-year contract at White Hart Lane. And yet this revelation is a fascinating one on Pochettino’s part, with the Argentine taking his Spurs side to the Theatre of Dreams to take on United on Sunday afternoon.
The report claims however that Fergie is little more than a friend and mentor of the Argentine manager, and Pochettino has now admitted that they do still keep in touch.
“No, no I will not speak with him before the game,” Pochettino told the Mirror.
“My relationship with him was, I explain last season and yes, we cross some texts but my expectation is not to talk with him before the game.”
Spurs will go nine points clear of United if they are able to win at Old Trafford on Sunday, and that is a testament to the hard work that has gone on off the pitch to bridge the gap between the two clubs.
“We are doing a big effort to try to reduce on the pitch that commercial gap,” Pochettino said.
“It’s true too our chairman, our board are trying to work hard to reduce the gap by building a new stadium, new facilities like here in the next few years.
“Tottenham is showing their ambition to be a team or club to be one of the biggest in Europe and in England.”
In terms of transfer business ahead of January, the Argentine remained coy, and preferred to emphasise tying down the club’s current stars on new deals as a better indication of ambition and progress:
“January is always difficult to find the right profile to help you.”
“Always when you bring players from outside always there is not too much time for that player to settle in your club and your philosophy, for many reasons.
“It will be difficult to find the profile that can help us but the club is doing a very good job to extend contracts of key players.
“That is how we can show our real ambition and how the players show their commitment with us, that’s a bigger statement for the club, to show our ambition for the future.”
Pochettino has also been handed the boost that defender Toby Alderweireld has declared himself fit for Spurs’ trip to Old Trafford.
The side has struggled throughout the last two months since the Belgian succumbed to a knee injury at West Bromwich Albion, but his return to fitness could come at no better time with Spurs preparing to grapple with the prospect of shackling United’s mercurial front man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and hopefully pile more misery on Mourinho’s Red Devils.
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