Despite falling behind Chelsea and realistically having to concede defeat in their quest for the Premier League title, Tottenham Hotspur are still slowly establishing themselves as a real title contender in the long-term, and right-back Kyle Walker believes Mauricio Pochettino has created the “perfect” Tottenham side since his installation as manager, and that despite falling behind in the title race has insisted that Spurs will enjoy a strong end to the season.
“The culture has been his biggest change at the club. When I first came in, it was all, ‘We might get Champions League, we might not’.
“But now we’ve turned that corner and we want more. Last season, even though it was disappointing, it was a big learning curve.
“I feel the team we have now is perfect. We’ve got the players and the manager to go and do something special.”
Kyle Walker has his eyes on winning a trophy and finishing above North London rivals Arsenal as the benchmark for a successful season for the club this term. They are through to the last eight of the FA Cup already, with a tie at home to Millwall lying in wait, but they will be in for a battle to keep this season’s European aspirations alive, with the task of overturning a 1-0 deficit to Gent from the first-leg in their Europa League tie at Wembley. It will be a full-house at the national stadium, with Spurs supporters having already snapped up all available tickets.
Of course, the Europa League winners are now granted a place in the Champions League, which renders the tournament all the more important for Pochettino’s men.
“When I first signed, I said I wanted to win trophies and I want to do that here before my time is up”, Walker said.
“To finish above Arsenal would be fantastic, but we’re not worried about them.”
As much as finishing above Arsenal would mean to the club, in the grand scheme of things what Pochettino’s men must do is avoid being caught up in a psychological battle with Arsenal and to concentrate on winning silverware. That alone would be enough for leverage over their North London opponents, and it is necessary for this Spurs side to start winning silverware if it is to maximise its potential. The club is enjoying something of a golden generation at present, and it would be a shame if they were to have nothing to show for it.
After a quiet January transfer window, what may help Spurs in future seasons in their capacity to strengthen the squad, and although Pochettino has assembled a strong side, it seems he and the club’s hierarchy are already lining up their targets for the summer, one of which is believed to be Real Madrid’s Spanish international, Isco.
Isco has been in and out of Zinedine Zidane’s side at the Bernabeu and is thought to be considering his options according to the Daily Mirror, with his contract up at the end of next season. Real also face the prospect of selling the playmaker in the summer, or risk letting him walk away for nothing or- best case scenario- less next January.
Bringing in the former Málaga attacker may seem a real coup for Pochettino, but having devoted much time, energy and money on bringing through Spurs’ younger players and tying down key men on longer-term contracts, the time may well have come to look at injecting extra quality into the side, particularly given that Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko have thus far proven disappointing, and a lack of depth has affected Spurs at times this season, resulting in their faltering in the title race.
That extra quality would be brought to North London in abundance with a signing like this, and for Spurs to become serious domestic and European contenders, these are the types of players they should be in the market for.
Finally, former Spurs star Teddy Sheringham has admitted that during his time with the club, then manager Ossie Ardiles almost went through with the signing of Diego Maradona.
Speaking on League of Legends, broadcast on Malaysia’s Stadium Astro, Sheringham spoke of his time at White Hart Lane, and that Ardiles had spoken to him about the fact that he was considering signing the Argentine World Cup winner.
“I got on really well with Ossie, and I think I was the captain at the time, and Ossie came to me one day and said ‘I want your opinion, I’m thinking about signing someone’,” Sheringham said.
“And I was like ‘go on’ and he was like ‘Diego Maradona’, and I went ‘Ossie, Ossie, really!? Are you?’ I went ‘do, just do it’.
“He said ‘I’m in talks with him at the moment’ and I was like ‘my god, do it, it would be brilliant to play with him’.”
Ardiles and Sheringham would speak three days later, when the Argentine announced that he’d opted against bringing in the World Cup winner due to troubles with the attacker’s personal life.
It was just as well really. In Maradona’s stead, Ardiles would sign another World Cup winner in the shape of Jurgen Klinsmann, who became a big-hit at White Hart Lane, winning the club’s Player of the Year Award in 1994, and netted 21 Premier League goals in 1994/95 before a move back to his homeland with Bayern Munich.
It all worked out well in the end, but had Ardiles gone through with the signing, the reaction around the club would have been unimaginable. And to think, he was so close to making it happen. The factor that stopped the deal happening was, unfortunately, Maradona’s own demons, and even know the football world is finding out what such vices prevented him from accomplishing later in his career.
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