They left it late, but Tottenham Hotspur got the job done at the Liberty Stadium with an eventual 3-1 win over Swansea City to ensure the gap between themselves and Chelsea remained at seven points, after the Blues ground out a hard-fought win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
For long periods though, it looked like it could be the final nail in the coffin of Spurs’ faint title hopes, as they trailed up until the 88th minute to former Spur Wayne Routledge’s early opener for the Swans. But Spurs, as Pochettino warned title rivals Chelsea in recent days, have a newfound resilience, and a Dele Alli equaliser plus stoppage-time strikes from Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen will send out a strong message that the North Londoners are not prepared to give up the ghost just yet.
Despite this, the wheels are already in motion off the field ahead of next season to help strengthen Spurs into a side that can contest the title even more closely, and to this end, reports from Italian outlet Tutto Mercato and the Daily Mirror claim that the club have been scouting players from the Serie A and the Bundesliga in search for talent to add to the ranks over the summer. The players believed to be under the watchful eye of the White Hart Lane outfit are Inter Milan duo Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gerson Murillo, plus RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita.
Tutto Mercato claim that Spurs scouts were at the San Siro having been tasked with watching Kondogbia and Murillo during Inter’s 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria on Monday night, though their endeavour hit a snag when Murillo finished up an unused substitute, with Kondogbia also starting on the bench before coming on at half-time.
France international Kondogbia has struggled to recapture the form he showed before his switch from Monaco in 2015 during his stint with the Nerazzurri, and the report claims that Spurs are particularly keen on an acquisition.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Keita has shot to prominence with Bundesliga newcomers Leipzig this season, with six goals and eight assists for the side currently second in the German top-flight, with his impressive performances arousing interest from around Europe according to the Mirror’s report. This has reportedly proved enough to tempt Spurs into the chase for the Guinea international, who joined Leipzig from fellow Red Bull franchise Salzburg of the Austrian Bundesliga over the summer.
His contract with Leipzig is set to run until 2020, but Spurs will be eyeing up the midfielder ahead of their Champions League group campaign next season, on the basis that they qualify, after Dele Alli’s red card in the Europa League against Genk ensured he will miss the first three games of Spurs’ European adventure, whenever it resumes.
Whether the moves materialise or not, the pursuit of the players concerned would occur under the watchful eye of manager Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine having hinted he will remain at the club after distancing himself from the Barcelona job, which will become vacant this summer with current Nou Camp boss Luis Enrique set to step down at the end of the season.
There may still be concern over the future of Pochettino, however, regarding the current situation surrounding the Argentina manager’s post. Current boss Edgardo Bauza is under fire with the Albiceleste struggling in World Cup qualifying, and Express Sport believes that the current Spurs boss may be in the reckoning to replace beleaguered boss Bauza, should the Argentine Football Association opt to oust him.
Were the unthinkable to happen though, and Pochettino be prised away from White Hart Lane in a shock move, Italian outlet Tutto Mercato believe that Tottenham have lined-up current Roma boss Luciano Spalletti to become the next Spurs chief, as a contingency plan.
The report claims the club would prefer the Roma boss as Pochettino’s successor were the Argentine to leave, and have apparently already drawn up a three-year contract worth £3.9million in the event of a Pochettino departure. Spalletti’s future at the Stadio Olimpico is very much in doubt, with the side second in Serie A but with little chance of overhauling Juventus at the top, and it is thought the Italian may depart the club this summer if the club fails to secure the Coppa Italia, the last realistic opportunity for silverware that the club has on the agenda this campaign, having already exited Europe.
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£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.
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.
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/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 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.
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.
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.
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