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Tottenham round-up: Pochettino confident in landing Palace winger; Kane’s West Ham confession

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Another week, another impressive victory for Mauricio Pochettino‘s Tottenham Hotspur. That just seems to be the way of things for the North London club at the moment, but even now amidst their impressive run of form, the Argentine is already building for future trophy hunting and it seems he has set his sights on one Premier League player over the summer as he bids to strengthen his side: Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

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According to the Daily Mirror, long-term admirer Pochettino is ‘confident’ that the two clubs will come to an agreement over a move for the Ivory Coast international, after Spurs failed to land him over the summer transfer window of 2016, with Palace chairman Steve Parish adamant that the 24-year-old was not for sale.

The player himself is thought to be favourable toward a move away, despite being under contract at Selhurst Park until 2020. The opportunity to potentially win trophies and play in Europe may well swing the pendulum in favour of the North Londoners, as well as the chance to appear regularly at Wembley, where the club will play its games next season as re-developments of White Hart Lane continue ahead of the construction of Spurs’ new stadium.

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Given the length of Zaha’s contract at Palace, it will take equal to or more than the £30million price-tag on the player’s head for the South London club to sanction any sale, and it may also be paramount in warding of interest from another potential suitor, in the form of wealthy Bundesliga new-boys RB Leipzig, who are also interested in acquiring the winger’s services, according to a separate report by the Mirror.

As of yet, though, this season is far from over and there is still something to salvage from the campaign with an FA Cup Quarter-Final tie against Millwall to come, as well as the continual attempt to close the gap on Chelsea and ensure the club does indeed seal a top-four place in what has been a competitive Premier League season at the top end of the table.

For all their impressive form, a Champions League berth mustn’t be taken for granted, and former Spurs player turned pundit Jamie Redknapp has claimed that the North Londoners must look to finish above bitter rivals Arsenal, in order to begin to show signs of progress.

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Arsenal have a game in hand over Tottenham but are four points adrift of Pochettino’s men having also slipped out of the top-four after defeat to Liverpool. The teams will meet again in the final North London Derby of the Premier League season in April, which may have severe permutations for either team’s season, and Redknapp has claimed that finishing above the Gunners will finally put an end to their years of inferiority to their rivals, as well as overcoming a huge psychological barrier in the Spurs camp.

“Tottenham are in better form than Arsenal and they have to make it their year to finish above them and exorcise all those demons that have been there for so long”, Redknapp told Sky Sports.

“It might sound irrelevant to some people, but I spent enough time there to realise the key for them is to finish above Arsenal. They finished third in a two-horse race last year when Arsenal pipped them and it hurt them, it really did. But the way Arsenal are playing at the moment they are never going to get a better chance to finish above them.

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“There’s so many good things happening at Tottenham. The nucleus is good, there’s young players and a great young manager. Things are looking up there”.

It has been 22 years since Spurs finished above their bitter rivals, and the ability to claim bragging rights in the long-raging turf war will be a huge sign of progress for the club. It would certainly go a long way towards writing the wrongs of last season too, which as Redknapp justifiably claims, ended with added insult to injury as Arsenal pipped them to second place right at the death after Pochettino’s team had conceded defeat in the Premier League title race.

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Meanwhile, Harry Kane isn’t so much concerned with Arsenal going into Monday, but rather with another of Spurs’ foes from the East End of the city, West Ham United, who take on Premier League leaders Chelsea in Monday night’s featured game.

With seven points still between Chelsea and Spurs, and the Blues’ game in hand coming at London Stadium, Kane has been happy to admit that he and his teammates would like a helping hand from the Hammers, despite the rivalry they share.

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After Spurs’ latest win at home to Everton on Sunday, Kane told the Daily Express: “I wanted that third goal and I had chances which I should have scored. It would have been another match-ball but I’m delighted with the win.

“We played very well today and controlled the game and then all of a sudden it was a nervy end. It’s an important win, we should have won by more but it’s another step closer to the top of the table.

“We really want West Ham to win against Chelsea tomorrow, we don’t normally say that”.

Whether their rivals do offer them a favour remains to be seen, but even if Spurs are to concede defeat in the title race this season, the nature of the top six requires they keep going til the end nevertheless. Mauricio Pochettino’s long-term vision for the club is of course still in development, and increased involvement in the title race is surely a certainty to follow.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Gordon Judge.

 

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

It Tottenham Hotspur sign Cedric Soares, Kyle Walker-Peters must move on

If Tottenham Hotspur want Cedric Soares, then Kyle Walker-Peters should force a Tottenham exit.

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It is being reported by The Mirror that Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for three Portugal internationals this summer. The report claims that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins and, finally, Southampton right-back Cedric Soares are all on the radar of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The former duo makes sense for Spurs, central midfield and wide areas remain a problem for the club. But Soares seems a waste of time and money.

Undoubtedly the 26-year-old is a great right-back, but the report comes in the same week as ESPN reported Tottenham were ready to offer young full-back Kyle Walker-Peters a new deal at the club.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has shown glimpses of real talent during his time at Spurs and will soon be hoping to break into the first-team picture. The offer of a new deal would be a major indicator that the England under-20 World Cup winner has a long-term future at the club.

Signing Soares would be a massive barrier to that end goal.

It would leave Spurs having Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier as well as Soares and Walker-Peters.

If the idea is to sell Aurier, who has failed to convince since arriving from PSG in the summer, then Tottenham should not replace him with an expensive new recruit.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Walker-Peters is ready and waiting to go in the first-team and most fans believe he has what it takes to be a star under Pochettino.

Bringing in Soares would seem something of an unnecessary exercise from Tottenham and one which would surely leave Walker-Peters questioning his role at the club.

Tottenham should instead continue with their pursuit of a new deal for their young talent, who can operate on both the right and left side of the defence. If not, the 21-year-old should seriously consider forcing an exit away from Spurs, as it would appear his chance with the first-team is never forthcoming.

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Aston Villa reportedly not keen on keeping Josh Onomah, so what next?

The talented England youth international has had a mixed campaign at Aston Villa and Tottenham have a decision to make.

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Reports this week have confirmed what has long been suspected regarding Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Joshua Onomah. The talented maestro headed to Aston Villa at the start of the season in the hunt for regular first-team football. But next season he will not be at Villa Park, as the club have decided not to make any move to retain him next term – according to the Birmingham Mail.

This is no shock for Aston Villa or Tottenham fans. Onomah has had a difficult season at Villa Park. The 20-year-old has played plenty of football during his spell in the Midlands. Onomah has featured 34 times for Steve Bruce’s side and scored four goals. But his form has been indifferent throughout the campaign. The second-half of the season saw his form drop off dramatically. Since the turn of the year, Onomah has played just 10 times, mostly as a substitute.

Aston Villa fans were vocal in their displeasure at Onomah’s performances, perceiving him to be lackadaisical and disinterested. Most wanted to see their own talents such as Callum O’Hare and Keinan Davis get a shot instead.

(X during the Premier League 2 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on February 5, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

So what next for Onomah?

He started the campaign with great hope. After playing a pivotal role in the England under-20 World Cup win, many felt this could be his breakthrough season.

But his spell at Villa has just highlighted the fact he is far from the finished article.

As far as a future at Tottenham goes, it is hard to see him not being loaned out again next term. Spurs have ample options in the centre of midfield – with the likes of Mousa Dembele, Moussa Sissoko, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks all at Mauricio Pochettino’s service. With rumours of new central midfield options also arriving Onomah is likely to be loaned out again next season.

If that is the case, Spurs must choose his next location with more care. Villa already have plenty of midfield options and the youngsters coming through led to resentment among much of the fanbase whenever Onomah got the nod ahead of them.

If Tottenham can find Onomah a home in the Championship where he can play regular football week in and week out and be a star for the fans that would be the ideal solution.

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Crystal Palace

Three potential England replacements for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Liverpool midfielder has been ruled out of the summer’s World Cup.

Jake Jackman

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It looked bad for Liverpool and England when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off during the first half of the Reds’ game against AS Roma in the Champions League and their worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has suffered a knee injury, which will keep him out of the rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup.

This is incredibly harsh news to take for the midfielder, who had been playing the best football of his career under Jurgen Klopp.

Last summer, he made a huge career decision as he chose to leave Arsenal to join top-six rivals Liverpool and, in hindsight, it has been a great move for him.

His influence and consistency have stood out from the centre of the park and England would have benefitted from that in Russia.

However, Gareth Southgate needs to readjust quickly and find a suitable alternative to the Liverpool midfielder.

Here are three players that could replace Oxlade-Chamberlain and receive a World Cup call this summer:

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Crystal Palace

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up an opportunity for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who will now have a chance of making the plane for Russia.

The midfielder has impressed at Crystal Palace and he delivered an assured performance against Germany on his international debut. Although injuries have hindered his progress since he remains one of the only dynamic midfielders available to Gareth Southgate.

Against Germany, he completed 96.2% of his passes and completed four successful dribbles. There were a lot of people that thought the call came too soon, but he looked at home on the international stage and he will be unknown to a lot of the teams England are due to face.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was going to provide the power and pace in the England midfield. Loftus-Cheek may not be as experienced as the Liverpool man, but he can step up and perform a similar role. If he can finish the season strongly, he will have a great chance of making the squad.

England Training Session And Press Conference

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Jonjo Shelvey – Newcastle United

There are growing calls for the Newcastle United midfielder to be called up by Gareth Southgate and they will only increase with the news of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury.

Shelvey won’t be able to step into the same role, but he can provide different qualities and could be a worthy selection for England.

Newcastle’s recent surge up the league table have shown Shelvey in a good light and he has been a major reason for his team’s success.

The 26-year-old dictates the game from deep and has a passing range that can’t be matched by any other English player.

Against Arsenal, he was putting his team-mates in on goal at will and there is a place for his skills in the national set-up.

England have a number of quick attacking players and against better teams, Shelvey would provide a good option.

Southgate will need to set his side up to counter-attack and there is no better player to pick out the runs of Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy than the Newcastle midfielder.

There are risks to selecting the 26-year-old, but he deserves to be considered for the summer’s tournament.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dele Alli – Tottenham

The Tottenham midfielder is going to go to the World Cup. Nobody can debate that, but he has found himself out of the starting eleven during recent friendly matches.

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain may benefit him, as there will now be a midfield position up for grabs.

Alli isn’t as comfortable in a central role as Oxlade-Chamberlain, but his goal threat and intelligent movement means that he could step into the starting eleven and play well.

The 22-year-old has had his critics this season, but a return of eight goals and ten assists in the Premier League underline the quality that he provides to a team.

Southgate will need to make sure Alli knows his defensive responsibilities and that the player carries them out to the letter, as England can’t afford to carry a midfield player.

At the age of 22, this summer could be an opportunity to break out for the Tottenham man.

It would be a risk to start him in a deeper role, but the rewards may be worth it.

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