As Mauricio Pochettino plans to add quality to his squad ahead of the summer, it isn’t just personnel on the pitch that are undergoing a major shake-up, after the club’s head of recruitment Paul Mitchell finally left the club, following his resignation last August.
Club chairman Daniel Levy is ringing the changes at the club ahead of the opening of the club’s new stadium in 2018, and having served a lengthy period of notice, Mitchell finally departs the club as one of many casualties behind the scenes, with David Webb, the club’s head of talent identification, also heading through the exit door.
Steve Hitchen is the man currently behind the major overhaul behind the scenes after taking the reins from chief scout Ian Broomfield, and he is expected to overlook a re-structuring of the club’s scouting network as the look to consolidate their position as a major force not only in the Premier League, but in Europe.
According to Sky Sports however, Mitchell may not be out of work for too long, with Rangers thought to be lining him up as an addition to the Ibrox hierarchy.
Amidst all the departures off the pitch, there was another on the pitch that has largely gone unnoticed. Fortunately it is only a temporary one though, after Mauricio Pochettino gave Spurs understudy goalkeeper Pau Lopez special dispensation to head to Barcelona this week and visit friends at his (and incidentally Pochettino’s) former club, Espanyol, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo.
22-year-old Pau is currently on loan from the La Liga club, having been displaced by former Real Madrid and Villarreal shot-stopper Diego Lopez. The promising young Catalan has been tipped to make a permanent switch to North London at the end of the season however, and given his age, may yet become the club’s second choice goalkeeper behind Number One, Hugo Lloris.
If that move does go ahead at the end of the year though, it could well spell doom for current Number Two Michel Vorm. The former Swansea stopper is unlikely to be content with falling further down the pecking order in North London, and the permanent arrival of Pau may confirm that his future indeed lies elsewhere.
Elsewhere, Tottenham managed to hang onto second place in the Premier League on Wednesday after top-four rivals Manchester City failed to take three points against Stoke City at the Etihad. Prior to the game, Tottenham had drawn praise from their rival manager, Pep Guardiola, particularly for their core of young, promising English talent.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli are just two of the young England internationals that have grown into key players at White Hart Lane under Pochettino, alongside utility man Eric Dier, emerging young star Harry Winks, and full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, who have both been subject to speculation of a move, one of the rumoured parties of interest incidentally being Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said:
“I would like English players (at Manchester City) because they know the league and that is much better”.
“I am really impressed with how many good English players that this country has. Tottenham players, the English players are all amazing”.
Manchester City of course have their own young England stars on board in the shape of Raheem Sterling and John Stones, both of whom signed from Merseyside clubs Liverpool and Everton respectively for hefty fees, the latter for a whopping £50million back in the summer. This prompted Guardiola to be reserved in his praise and his declaration of want for young English talent, before bemoaning the price tags often slapped on young, homegrown players.
“Believe me, I would like English players, but it is impossible. You know that better than me. It is so expensive.”
The dilemma which Guardiola laments is one that Tottenham have fortunately developed a knack for getting around. Pochettino’s philosophy for identifying and developing young players at the club has rapidly gathered momentum since his arrival at White Hart Lane, and identifying talent early has enabled them to dodge high transfer fees in future. Dele Alli for example arrived from League One outfit Milton Keynes Dons for a bargain £5million in 2015, and he has since developed into one of the most promising young talents in the country, alongside Harry Kane.
Both have broken into the international fold in recent years, as has Eric Dier, to add to the previously established Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. This is evidence of Pochettino’s strategy bearing fruit, and the extensive overhaul in the recruitment sector of the club is likely being undertaken in the interest of preserving the longevity of this project and keeping the conveyor belt of talent at the club moving swiftly.
City, on the other hand, have the money to purchase ready-made talent, but with a new stadium to pay for, Tottenham have had to set-about developing star players themselves. It is an initiative which appears to be bearing fruit, and their rivals would do well to emulate that model, despite their vast financial resources.
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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 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/FYN Hareide 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?”
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 also, players 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 benchwarming – something he will never do at Spurs.
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 more and more likely.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Is a Luke Shaw for Danny Rose swap deal a no-brainer transfer?
Shaw and Rose have both struggled at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively, this season.
It looks as though Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw will be leaving Old Trafford this summer. The BBC report the England international will seek an exit after his latest stinging criticism from Jose Mourinho.
Shaw has struggled to win over the Portuguese since Mourinho became United manager. Now it seems the end of the tether has been located and Shaw will make an exit. The 22-year-old, who cost a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £27 million in 2014, will not be short of suitors.
Despite his struggles at Manchester United since suffering a horror leg break, Shaw is considered one of the best young left-backs in the game.
The obvious solution should be clear and for Shaw certainly desired. A move to Tottenham Hotspur must be his wish.
Shaw came through the ranks at Southampton and became an England international under the coaching of Mauricio Pochettino. The pair had a special bond and Shaw has confirmed a desire to work with the Argentine again. He wrote in Guillem Balague’s book Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs, as reported by Sky Sports:
“I do hope that I can play for him again one day. And I think he really wants me to play under him again.
“He used to call me his son, that’s how good our relationship was. I’ve had lots of ups and downs, but when I was with Pochettino it was only ever up, up, up.”
It is a similar relationship to the one many have suggested Pochettino had with his current Tottenham left-back Danny Rose. That relationship, however, has been in decline. After appearing to suggest he wanted a Spurs exit last summer, and after a battle with injury, Rose has become second-fiddle at Spurs to Welshman Ben Davies.
Rose, originally from Leeds, is known to eventually want a return north and Shaw will no doubt love a move south. There is an obvious solution on the cards here.
Manchester United would love to bring in Rose and finally fill their problem position of left-back. Shaw needs to leave Old Trafford for a fresh start to his career. Working under the man he once considered a father figure could be just what he needs.
Shaw to Tottenham and Rose to Manchester United seems a no-brainer. Time will tell if either move comes off for these two players searching for fresh impetus in their careers.
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