Tottenham round-up: PSG star reveals snub; new contract for defender; Levy's subtle hit-out at rivals
Despite the major improvement Spurs have enjoyed under Mauricio Pochettino’s North London revolution, even in the Argentine’s magic wand hasn’t worked every miracle that he has wanted to achieve at the club so far in terms of bringing in certain players and winning trophies, and details have emerged from abroad of one target that got away last summer, Paris Saint-Germain defender Thomas Meunier.
The right-back was the subject of much speculation following Euro 2016 with Belgium, and had several clubs vying for his signature including Tottenham, but chose to move to the French champions, who forked out around £5.9million to secure his services from his previous club, Club Brugge.
Speaking to Telefoot, Meunier said: “I had a choice between six or seven clubs that were really serious with their offers. Most of them came from England. West Ham, Middlesbrough, and then there was Tottenham at one point.
“In Italy, there was Napoli, where I was truly close to signing, then finally PSG entered into the race and I had a greater chance of making it in the Champions League with them than with Napoli.”
The move to the French champions probably worked out best for all parties. Meunier has been able to enjoy first-team football at the Parc des Princes, whereas a move to Tottenham may have seen him spend more time out of the first-team reckoning, given the imperious form of first-choice right-back Kyle Walker, and in his absence the quality of back-up full-back Kieran Trippier.
Meanwhile, focusing on defender’s that Pochettino did manage to get through the revolving door at White Hart Lane, the Argentine and chairman Daniel Levy are thought to be hard at work negotiating another improved contract, this time to retain the services of Belgium international Toby Alderweireld, according to the Daily Mail.
Both parties are thought to be close to agreeing on a new £75,000-a week contract for the centre-half, which will also see the removal of a £25 million release clause previously installed into his deal.
Bigger clubs would be able to take advantage of the clause in the summer of 2019, if the club opted to extend his deal by a year to run til 2020. Despite their being little immediate concern, it follows on from the talks and contract extensions already secured with other key players at the club, showing Spurs’ commitment to building a squad capable of mounting a title challenge year on year, and reveals an idea as to the longevity of Mauricio Pochettino’s project at the club.
And with yet another shrewd move to toast soon if the Belgian puts pen to paper, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been enjoying himself in the media, having taken a swipe at bitter-rivals Arsenal over the construction of the club’s new stadium.
Speaking to the club’s official website about the new ground, which is set to open in time for the 2018/19 campaign, Levy has suggested the maintaining of the White Hart Lane pitch close to the fans will retain much of the club’s famous atmosphere, and thus make it a better place for supporters to watch football than the Emirates.
“The first challenge we gave our architects was ‘how can we try and retain the atmosphere that currently exists in our stadium here, because it is a very tight bowl?’
“So we are in fact five metres closer to the pitch than a comparable stadium in north London.”
With an extra 568 seats, the £750million 61,000-capacity arena is, in fact, bigger than that of their old rivals, and indeed will be the biggest club football ground in the capital once complete.
Until then though, Spurs will face spending one season at Wembley, and if they are to build on the successes of this and last season, they will need to get over the struggles they have had at the national stadium in Europe.
Of four games played at Wembley over the course of their European campaign, Spurs managed just one win, against Russian outfit CSKA Moscow, with a draw at home to Gent, which saw them exit the Europa League on aggregate, to follow two defeats in the Champions League by Ligue 1 leaders Monaco, and Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Serg Hoholok.