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Tottenham round-up: Mauricio Pochettino proud; Conte’s confessions; third contract extension for Dele Alli



It was a result that many will have hoped for, but little may have expected.

Nevertheless, former Chelsea boss José Mourinho returned to haunt his former club, as his Manchester United side overcame the Blues 2-0 at Old Trafford to hand Tottenham a lifeline in the title race, by cutting the gap between the North Londoners and their rivals from the west of the capital to a mere four points, with six games remaining.

Sunday’s circumstances at Old Trafford were out of Pochettino’s hands, but after the result went his side’s way, the Argentine coach was quick to lavish praise on his ‘unique’ Spurs side, calling it a memorable achievement that they have managed to regain so much ground on the wealthy Blues, when the gap between themselves and the top lay at 12 points back in February.

The Argentine’s comments came in the wake of their 4-0 win over Bournemouth, which secured the club’s seventh straight triumph in the Premier League, the first time Spurs have managed such a feat in fifty years.

“I think our answer is fantastic,” Pochettino told the Daily Mirror. “If you analyse where we came from, it’s a fantastic time for Tottenham.

“The way you build your project is important to analyse. Tottenham is not building now in an artificial way.

“It is not about putting in money, money, money, and building a fantastic stadium and fantastic team”.

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Pochettino’s comments will come across as something of a dig at their big-spending West London rivals, and will surely stoke the fire ahead of the FA Cup semi-final tie which will take place between the two clubs at Wembley the weekend following Easter.

In the league, the Blues still maintain a slight advantage, but the outcome of this cup semi-final could hand a huge psychological boost to the winners ahead of the title race, whilst also offering Spurs the chance to seize some silverware from the Blues if they fail to overhaul them in their quest for the Premier League.

But Spurs will be going into the tie with their tails up after hauling back Chelsea’s 12 point advantage in the league, also in the knowledge that they ended the Blues’ 13-match unbeaten run back in January with a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane, the last meeting between the teams.

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Now, the first-time this season, Antonio Conte’s side have begun to look like they may crack under pressure when it really matters, and the Italian has not only declared that the title is his team’s to lose, but conceded that Tottenham are the strongest team in the Premier League at present, in the wake of his side’s defeat at Old Trafford.

“I think Tottenham now are the best team, they are in good form and have a lot of enthusiasm. They are feeling the possibility to write history,” Conte said after his side’s defeat, as quoted by the Telegraph.

Conte showed great humility by placing the blame directly on his own shoulders for the manner of the loss, whilst candidly admitting that he feels his side’s chances of winning the title are now 50/50.

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“I think we didn’t play a good game and United deserved to win the game because they showed more desire, motivation and ambition. It’s very simple. But in this case the fault is the coach because it means the coach was not able to inspire the right motivation, the right ambition to win.

“Against Crystal Palace we didn’t deserve to lose. Today we deserved to lose. We now have to look at the last six games as six cup finals. The league is open and we have 50 per cent probability to win the league. We must know this.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror claim that Tottenham may be ready to negotiate a third contract extension of the season with in-form midfielder Dele Alli, in order to stave off interest from Real Madrid over the summer.

The 21-year-old signed a second contract extension of the season back in September, in a deal worth a reported £55,000 a week which is set to run until 2022.

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But with chairman Daniel Levy thought to be fearful of impending bids, and desperate to keep Mauricio Pochettino’s squad together, the club are thought to be ready to offer the youngster yet another improvement to his current deal, which could see his weekly earnings increase by £40million.

If there if any truth to the report, such an increase would place Alli firmly amongst the club’s top earners, which currently include Hugo Lloris and Harry Kane, who earn in excess of £100,000 a week.

The report also claims that improved deals may also be discussed with Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Son Heung-Min, whilst if any of Europe’s big guns come knocking for Alli, Levy is likely to command a fee in the region of the £85.3 million Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale four years ago.

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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