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Tottenham: Pochettino praises new-look defence; three midfielders linked; full-back targeted



It’s all smiles for Tottenham Hotspur fans and for manager Mauricio Pochettino after their convincing 3-0 win over Hull at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night, which kept them just three points adrift of a top four spot. Much threat came from the full-backs, with Kyle Walker and Danny Rose given free reign to push up the wings and support the attack, and Poch’ believes that these are the benefits of a new 3-4-3 system he is attempting to implement at Spurs.

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Despite rarely straying from 4-2-3-1 last season, the Argentine, Speaking at a post-match press conference, said he believes the three-man defensive system is ‘working well’, having opted for a defensive set-up consisting of Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen. All excelled as the hosts set about dismantling Mike Phelan’s side.

Two of Tottenham’s goals came from the creativity of the wing-backs, who could operate almost as conventional wingers thanks to the cover the back-three provided, and Pochettino believes the new system is progressing well.

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“This season we are working hard to develop different systems to try to improve the team with different solutions,” Pochettino said

“Today we thought it was the better way. I think it’s working well – the first two goals came from two good actions from our full backs, using them as wing backs.

“It [Hull] was a team that played very deep. It was important to try to move the ball quickly and try to penetrate.

“OK, after 3-0 it looks like a very good choice – but it’s important to be clinical,” he added.

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With a hectic period of festive fixtures, Pochettino also highlighted the importance that his team continue to make ground on the top four:

“The three points keep up is a very good position. We need to keep our faith and reduce the gap – if not then keep the same position”.

Elsewhere, as well as creating solutions on the training ground, the Spurs boss has been hard at work with the club’s hierarchy on identifying January transfer targets, and three of these, to have been revealed in the media on Thursday morning, seem particularly ambitious.

The first of these is Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who according to The Telegraph is being closely monitored by the North London club, with 18 months left to run on his current deal at Goodison Park.

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It is unlikely that the Toffees would entertain bids for the 23-year-old playmaker as early as January, but Spurs are thought to be ready to make their move for the Everton academy graduate in the summer, providing he doesn’t agree fresh terms on Merseyside before the end of the season.

Current Toffees manager Ronald Koeman has also been a known critic of Barkley at times this season, and the England international has found himself in and out of the side at Goodison in an attempt to stake his claim in the first-team. His most recent outing, in Everton’s 2-1 win over Spurs’ bitter rivals Arsenal, yielded an impressive performance.

Barkley has lost his place in the England side since the European Championships, but Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is confident he could get the best out of him, having already worked wonders with a host of young English players at Southampton and Tottenham, a prospect that could be attractive to Barkley as he weighs up his options.

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Despite the fact he will only have 12 months remaining on his current contract at Everton in the summer, the Toffees are still likely to slap a £25million price tag on the midfielder, which would fall inside the budget of a club of Spurs’ stature.

Having both Barkley and Dele Alli in the same side would be a managerial headache for Pochettino, but the Argentine has shown before that he is a fan of competition in his squad.

With Pochettino seeking more creative options within his squad, the club has also been linked with a £25million move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha, according to the Daily Express.

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Zaha was a known target for Spurs over the summer, but they saw an offer of £21million rebuffed for the 24-year-old, but are now thought to be ready to re-enter the market with an improved offer.

But after offloading winger Yannick Bolasie in the summer, Palace are thought to be firm in their resolve to retain his services.

Zaha has made 17 appearances this season, scoring just three goals, but quoting an article from online outlet Squawka, the report claims that Zaha is ready to move to pastures new and could leave Selhurst Park as early as January.

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And Spurs are touted as a likely destination with Pochettino keen to bolster his attack with another winger and have a more ready-made wide-man at Premier League level on the books than summer signing Georges Kevin Nkoudou, who is yet to make a lasting impact in North London.

Zaha is not the only wide-man the club are thought to be targeting however, and according to the Liverpool Echo, they could be back in the market to haunt Everton once more as Pochettino and his men are thought to be ready to rival the Toffees in a bidding war for Manchester United outcast Memphis Depay.

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Everton had looked like being firm favourites to sign the Dutch international in January, but it is understood that Spurs have now entered the race as Pochettino eyes up more options out wide. 22-year-old Depay is also being monitored by Serie A giants Roma, Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg and surprise Ligue 1 leaders OGC Nice.

Elsewhere, amidst all the talk of potential arrivals at White Hart Lane, one player could be heading the other way, with The Telegraph reporting that Spurs’ Wales international left-back Ben Davies, is a transfer target for Crystal Palace.

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Davies is currently understudy to Danny Rose at Tottenham and has only just returned to fitness from an ankle injury suffered in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen. Palace boss Alan Pardew is thought to be an admirer of the Welshman as he seeks to add to his defensive options at Selhurst Park, but with a Europa League campaign on the horizon, it is unlikely Pochettino and Spurs will be swayed into a sale unless they can bring in another full-back to compete with Rose and provide cover.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by chao1989.

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

English Premier League

£43m for Toby Alderweireld would be great business for Tottenham Hotspur

It seems that the Belgian defender is definitely on his way out of Tottenham Hotspur.



It seems as though Toby Alderweireld is on his way out of Tottenham Hotspur.

It is being reported by Het Laatse Nieuws today that the Belgian’s contract talks with Spurs have been halted.

With the Belgian out of contract in the summer of 2019, Spurs will attempt to cash in on Alderweireld now.

A fee of £43 million has been mentioned for the player, who reportedly wanted a wage to match that of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool.

Tottenham’s stance of not paying out big wages to their top players has often been criticised. But on this occasion, the Lilywhites are doing the right thing.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

On his day and when fit, Alderweireld might be the best centre-back in the Premier League. However, it has been a long time since the Belgian had such a day.

Most of this season has seen Alderweireld on the treatment table. When he has played, it has always seemed a precursor to his next injury.

Given his age and contract situation, the injury record gives Alderweireld three strikes. At £43 million, Tottenham would be getting a fantastic deal for their defender.

The report from HLN claimed that Alderweireld wanted a wage in the region of €180,000-a-week (£160,000-a-week). Such a sum is vast for a player with his current issues.

The fact Spurs were reportedly willing to go as high as €120,000 (£105,000) per week shows that Daniel Levy tried to keep the Belgian, even doubling his current wage, but Alderweireld is on his way.

It will be a shame for Spurs but breaking the wage structure at the club for an injury prone defender would not have been a wise move.

Eventually, Tottenham might have to be more lenient with their wages, but that should be saved for the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen.

Tottenham should take £43 million for Alderweireld and persevere with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth.

Alderweireld’s next club will hope they can keep the Belgian fit long enough to reap the rewards of his potential signature.

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English Premier League

Christian Eriksen happy at Tottenham, as national coach suggests he’s ready for move

Age Hareide believes Eriksen is ready to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid.



Christian Eriksen has been in fine form for Tottenham Hotspur this season.

The Danish international has maintained his role as a fan favourite and first-team regular with sublime performances in the attacking midfield role.

Such form obviously has him attracting interest. In the past, there have been rumblings of a potential exit. Real Madrid and Barcelona are two teams that would obviously love someone of Eriksen’s immense talent.

One person who feels Eriksen is up for the move is his national team boss Age Hareide.

Speaking in the Danish press this week the Norwegian claimed Eriksen is better than Luka Modric was when he left for Madrid in 2012.

As quoted by TV2/FYNHareide was clear Eriksen has what it takes to play for both sides, but can see why he might stay at Spurs:

“He is ready to take one step more.

“I think he is a type that can adapt to anything. Give him a ball, then the ball will speak for him wherever he is. Christian is a type that just gets better from dealing with better football players.

“Looking at the players that play central to Real Madrid and Barcelona, none of those who are better than Christian.

“Luka Modric came from Tottenham to Real Madrid, and he was not as good as Christian.

“He has gone through a fantastic development during Mauricio Pochettino in Tottenham. It is a team that plays very nice football, and as we are also inspired by.

“Now, Tottenham gets a new stadium, so why should he not continue in London?”

(Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Tottenham fans will immediately be concerned about such talk.

Eriksen is undoubtedly a key player and they know such a move could always be on the cards for the midfield maestro.

Whilst away on international duty players are often linked with moves away from clubs.

It is often down to slow news back home, but players also have time to reflect when away with their country.

If Hareide is talking up Eriksen this way in the press, Tottenham fans will hope he isn’t in the dressing room.

But in reality, Hareide should and will want Eriksen to remain at Spurs.

A move to Real or Barca brings inherent risks of bench-warming – something he will never do at Spurs.

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Eriksen also spoke to TV2/FYN this week, ahead of Denmark’s friendly clashes with Panama and Chile and made it clear he is happy at Tottenham Hotspur.

He did, however, mention a desire for trophies:

“To be honest, I do not give a change of mind any thought. You have your dreams, but what’s realistic and going to happen, you see first when the offer is on the table.

“Right now, most are very happy to be in Tottenham, and I am too.

“I still think I can win something with Tottenham. Looking at where Tottenham is now compared to when I joined the club, people are now watching us as title candidates.”

Spurs’ biggest challenge in the next year or so is to keep this group of players, and their manager, in North London.

The longer they go without winning a trophy an eventuality which sees the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and even Mauricio Pochettino leaving becomes increasingly likely.

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Eriksen and co. currently have their eyes on the FA Cup, with a semi-final tie against Manchester United upcoming.

Winning that competition may need to be the start of a run of silverware. Otherwise, Hareide’s prediction regarding Eriksen’s suitability to Barca and Real may be put to the test.

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English Premier League

Could Fernando Llorente be Tottenham Hotspur’s secret weapon in Rodrigo pursuit?

Could Tottenham use the Spaniard as a sweetener in deal for Valencia forward?



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Reports today have suggested that Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion are all keeping tabs on Valencia striker Rodrigo.

Calciomercato claim Rodrigo is wanted by all three clubs who are looking to bolster their attacking options.

Tottenham have long been trying to add the perfect back-up to Harry Kane to their ranks. Both Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente have not quite lived up to the billing.

VALENCIA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 08: Rodrigo Moreno (R) of Valencia CF competes for the ball with Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona during the Copa de Rey semi-final second leg match between Valencia and Barcelona on February 8, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Rodrigo, who had a spell on loan at Bolton Wanderers earlier in his career, could be the man to fill the role. The report discloses his massive €120 million (£105.4 million) release clause, but that offers in the region of €40 million (£35 million) are expected.

For Spurs the Spaniard would be a brilliant signing. Rodrigo has scored 16 goals in 35 games this season and would be a welcome addition. But at the price being mentioned, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is unlikely to sign off on any deal.

Rodrigo is nowhere near prolific enough for Spurs, a traditionally careful club financially, to make a move of that magnitude.

But could they have another bargaining chip to help sweeten the deal, and take a chunk off the asking price?

If Rodrigo was to arrive at Spurs they would have little use for his countryman Llorente. The 33-year-old would therefore be surplus to requirements, but would surely be of interest to Valencia.

ENFIELD, ENGLAND – MARCH 06: Fernando Llorente in action during a Tottenham Hotspur training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League match against Juventus at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on March 6, 2018 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Spaniard has an excellent record of scoring in the Spanish top-flight. Whilst not likely to take a massive amount off of any potential transfer, Spurs could easily persuade Valencia to shave off £10 million should they accept Llorente as part of any Rodrigo deal.

If Tottenham are going to make a move for the talented Valencia striker this summer, having Llorente in the squad could prove a massive bargaining tool in negotiations.

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