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Tottenham round-up: Alvaro Morata ‘unrealistic’ target; Mauricio Pochettino praises midfielder; Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic on radar



Much has been made of the potential targets to be hunted by manager Mauricio Pochettino in the summer transfer window, but the Argentine has distanced himself from one rumoured high-profile player to be linked with the North London club, Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata.

According to the London Evening Standardthe player claimed earlier this week that he had been in contact with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino last summer, amidst growing uncertainty over his future at the Bernabeu, after Real Madrid triggered a buy-out clause to bring the 24-year-old back from Juventus.

The Spanish international has only made 20 La Liga appearances this season but netted 11 goals in that time. The report also claims that Chelsea are interested in bringing the forward to Stamford Bridge. But Pochettino has shrugged off speculation that the club will look to bring Morata to White Hart Lane in the wake of his comments, labelling such a move as an ‘unrealistic’ one to pursue.

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“I know Morata from when I started my career at Espanyol”, Pochettino said. “The reality was that he sent a text to me when I was still manager there.”

“He contacted me – it is possible to give so advice and then we kept our relationship, a good relationship.

“He’s a great kid and a very good player but it’s not a realistic situation.”

Aside from potential arrivals, many would have thought that the form of Pochettino’s Spurs this campaign and, indeed over last season, would invite bigger European clubs to circle around their stars in an effort to entice them away from North London. Speculation has emerged over the season regarding players such as Dele Alli and Kyle Walker, but one player has gone somewhat under the radar: Spurs’ Denmark international, Christian Eriksen.

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The former Ajax star has netted seven goals and clocked up 11 assists in 2016/17, but has become something of an unsung hero given the exploits of Alli and of course star striker Harry Kane. Pochettino has lauded the Dane with praise, claiming the lack of attention on the creative, yet humble midfielder can only help him and the club, for he is able to play in a relaxed manner, without pressure.

Speaking to The Guardian, Pochettino said: “Christian is a player that does not need too much the feedback of the fans, the media and the people outside.”

“I like that a lot. He does not need to be recognised. He needs only to feel the love from us inside the club, and the recognition from us is massive.  He is a very relaxed person but he loves football.”

“He is so special and we always call him ‘Golazo’, because he is capable of scoring unbelievable goals,” Pochettino continued, given the reputation the midfielder has developed for netting long-range scorchers.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail have claimed that Spurs may be lining up a summer bid for Borussia Dortmund’s 18-year-old USA international star, Christian Pulisic.

With Harry Kane having spent two spells out with injury over the course of the season, and with Vincent Janssen the only other out-and-out forward on the club’s books, much has been made of Spurs’ lack of depth in the centre-forward position. The Dortmund youngster has been earmarked as a potential solution and may add extra pace and dynamism to the attacking line.

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Pulisic has scored five goals in 35 outings for the Bundesliga giants this season, and the report claims that Tottenham’s chief scout Steve Hitchen was present at the Westfalenstadion during Dortmund’s 3-2 Champions League quarter-final first-leg defeat to Monaco, where the youngster impressed against left-back Andrea Raggi having come on as a half-time substitute.

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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

Clement Lenglet is the perfect replacement for Toby Alderweireld

The French defender has been in fine form for Sevilla.



Photo: Getty Images

When Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Sevilla last week, plenty of the La Liga side’s players put in heroic displays.

Wissam Ben Yedder, the goalscorer of both Sevilla’s goals on the night received the highest praise. However, it was defender Clement Lenglet who deserved the biggest plaudits.

The 22-year-old did a wonderful job of shackling Romelu Lukaku for most of the game, putting in a brave and assured performance at centre-back.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It was a display that undoubtedly won him some fans, and Tottenham Hotspur should be one of them.

It looks increasingly likely that Tottenham will lose Toby Alderweireld in the summer.

HLN in Belgium reported this week that Spurs have ended contract talks with the Belgian and are prepared to sell him for £43 million.

Tottenham, therefore, have a potential gap in the centre-back position.

Lenglet is the perfect option. Not only is he good enough, as he proved by United last week, but he fits the profile of a Tottenham signing.

The Sevilla defender is just 22 years of age and has years ahead of him to develop. Then, there is his release clause.

According to a recent report from Diario ASthe Frenchman has a release clause of just €30 million (£26.2 million).

Such a fee for a player of his talent and his age would amount to daylight robbery.

Lenglet, who only joined Sevilla from Nancy last summer, would be the perfect option for Spurs to replace Alderweireld.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He could rotate with fellow young talent Davinson Sanchez playing alongside the more experienced Jan Vertonghen in defence.

With a Frenchman behind him in Hugo Lloris and French speaker in Vertonghen, he would not have to worry much about the language barrier just yet.

Strong, fast, capable on the ball and a raw talent he is exactly the sort of player Mauricio Pochettino could mould into a future Tottenham star.

Alderweireld’s exit will no doubt be a shame for Tottenham.

Nonetheless, if they can bring in Lenglet for £17 million less than they sell the Belgian for, the club will have pulled off a masterstroke.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham should fear Toby Alderweireld’s potential exit

Losing the Belgian international would be a huge blow for the Lilywhites.



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Reports from Belgian outlet Het Laatse Nieuws have linked Tottenham centre-half Toby Alderweireld with a £43 million exit from Spurs this summer after the north London club reportedly gave up on contract negotiations.

The loss of the Belgian international would be a severe blow to the Tottenham defense, as well as to the image of the club.

If Spurs want to take the next step and seriously challenge for the Premier League title and advance to the latter stages of the Champions League, they must keep hold of their biggest talents.

Alderweireld has been imperious for the north London side ever since he joined from Atlético Madrid in the summer of 2015. After impressing on loan with Southampton in the 2014/15 season, the centre-half excelled at White Hart Lane.

(Photo by Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

An integral part of the impressive Spurs teams of 2015/16 and 2016/17, Alderweireld was an ever-present in the backline. He played every single match in 2015/16 and 30 matches the following season.

And not coincidentally, these years coincided with tremendous defensive fortitude for Tottenham. In both seasons, Spurs boasted the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 35 and 26 goals respectively- a truly remarkable feat.

Yet this season, the Belgian’s involvement has been severely hindered due to a hamstring injury. Consequently, Spurs remain well off the pace for the title race and have already conceded 25 goals, almost surpassing the previous season’s total with eight matches to spare.

If the rumours of his impending departure are correct, Tottenham will suffer a major blow to their back four. Physically imposing and tactically adept, Alderweireld has been a colossus in the centre of defense for Spurs for three years now.

Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth are simply not capable replacements for the Belgian international, and a loss of Alderweireld would spell trouble for Tottenham’s title chances and European ambition in 2018/19.

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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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