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Tottenham’s handling of ‘unsettled’ players could be unnecessarily costing the club

Spurs’ policy of dealing with unsettled players could be proving counterproductive.

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Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur is not among the richest clubs in world football.

This statement should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the club as the Lilywhites are not renowned for a lavish player spending policy.

As Tottenham build their new stadium and continue to progress under Mauricio Pochettino, their status as a football club is quickly changing.

The on-field changes are happening at the same pace as the off-field developments. As the status of the club and its players rises, the footballers responsible for this progress will expect their wages to rise accordingly.

This is not always possible, with Toby Alderweireld the latest to come into conflict the club, reportedly unhappy over contract negotiations. The Belgian follows teammate Danny Rose, who voiced concerns over wages and the club’s investment in transfers during an exclusive interview with The Sun.

Likewise, Kyle Walker reportedly doubled his weekly salary when he made the move from White Hart Lane to the Etihad last summer.

Nonetheless, while the wage structure at Tottenham is a well-documented concern for the club’s long-term success, there is an underlying cause for concern at the club: the sidelining of the those who are reportedly ‘unsettled’.

Alderweireld has been out injured for a large portion of the season. However, he is now seemingly back and match-fit. Despite Pochettino’s recent assertions that he is being left out due to the form of his centre-back teammates, he has not been handed a Premier League start since he returned to fitness in January.

The defender started games for his national side during the recent international break, only to not even be named on the bench against Chelsea on Easter Sunday or the club’s more recent victory over Stoke City.

Many have argued Pochettino may not want to risk the defender. However, teammate Harry Kane played in the last 15 minutes despite suggestions that he would be a World Cup doubt less than three weeks ago.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Player policy

If Toby Alderweireld has lost his place due to the contract conflict it will follow a worrying trend of Pochettino’s treatment of players who have “stepped out of line”.

Former defender Kyle Walker reportedly stated his intention to leave the club mid title race last season. The now Manchester City player was way out of line and he should’ve been punished.

On the flipside, if punishing him weakens the team then is it in the clubs interests to punish him?

Following the reported altercation, the English fullback started just one of the remaining five games. Walker still made team of the year that season but Pochettino preferred Kieran Trippier during the closing weeks of the season.

A similar situation has happened to fellow full-back Danny Rose this season. Following the England international’s public condemnation of the clubs transfer policy in an interview with The Sun, he has started only six Premier League games all season.

Rose has had an injury at the start of the season. The English man has been fit since around November but has rarely featured. Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies are both good, solid players. However, compared to last seasons PFA team of the season’s full-back choices, they shouldn’t be getting in the starting-XI.

Davison Sanchez is a better alternative to Alderweireld than Trippier and Davies are to Walker and Rose. However, can any team really afford to lose their best full backs or centre-back, players widely heralded the best in their positions in the Premier League?

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Pochettino’s dilemma

In the case of Alderwerield and Rose, both have fallen out of favour during a World Cup year. It not in their interests to not give 100% for the club. Both players must ensure they are fit and in form to make their respective nations world cup squads.

Regardless, if they play or not they still get paid. If they are not contributing on the pitch then who is benefiting from this policy from Pochettino? The most likely rationale for this strategy is the club sending out a clear message as to how ” troublemakers” will be treated.

The major flaw in this plan is how would a Harry Kane be treated? Every other Tottenham player has a close replacement in terms of style or ability except for Kane. Llorente is the only other natural striker in the Tottenham first-team and the Spaniard struggles to make the squad most weeks.

Winger Heung Min Son was preferred to the former Swansea man during Kane’s recent injury. If Kane, or someone as irreplaceable, gets in a similar position, does Pochettino bench a 25+ goal a season striker in favour of a winger, or does he make himself a hypocrite?

Liverpool

Southampton is the ideal destination for Liverpool forward Danny Ings

The Liverpool forward has had a torrid time on Merseyside

Liam Thomas

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Danny Ings
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool signed Danny Ings back in 2015 after the forwards terrific season with Burnley earned him a big money move to Anfield. However, largely due to injuries, the Englishman’s time on Merseyside has been spent on the sidelines.

With the new Premier League season edging closer, it looks as if Ings’ time at the Reds may be coming to an end and, according to The Sun, Southampton are keen on bringing the forward to St. Mary’s to head up their forward line.

Liverpool rate Ings at £20 million but the Saints will be looking to require his signature for half that price given the forward’s recent injury record and there seems no better destination for him to rediscover the form that saw him leave Burnley for Anfield.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Southampton was the club it all started for Ings, with the forward playing for Saints as a schoolboy. Now the Englishman is fighting fit and ready to go, it seems the South coast outfit would offer him the first team action he needs to become a prolific goalscorer once again.

A fresh start is exactly what Ings needs to reignite his Premier League career and, at 25 years of age, he still has a lot left in the tank to give some of his best years to Mark Hughes’ team.

If the Liverpool forward could rediscover the form that saw him score 43 times in 139 appearances for Burnley, Southampton could profit hugely.

Are the Saints the team for Ings to finally rediscover that fortune? Given a little bit of confidence and a run of minutes under his belt, St.Mary’s could become the perfect playground for the forward to flourish.

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Chelsea

Three reasons why Kenedy can become Newcastle’s talisman next season

The 22-year-old made an instant impact when he joined on loan last season.

Liam Thomas

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Kenedy
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United managed to acquire Kenedy’s services for another season, after bringing the silky winger in on loan last January from Chelsea.

During his time at St. James’ Park last season, the Brazilian showed glimpses of the genius that saw Chelsea bring him into their ranks from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminense and he will, in no doubt, be an extremely effective weapon for Rafael Benitez to have at his disposal next season.

But can the 22-year-old take it up a notch and become Newcastle’s star man in the 2018/19 Premier League season?

A brilliant manager to learn from

Kenedy will again have to chance to play under Spanish tactician Rafael Benitez, a manager who’s done and won it all.

Benitez seemed to get the best out of Kenedy last season for the Magpies, and the young Brazilian won’t find many other managers around who are invested in getting the very best out of their young talents.

He had a huge impact playing just half the season for Newcastle

When Kenedy arrived on Tyneside in January, Benitez’ team were struggling, and in a rut of bad form, the Brazilian played his part in turning the clubs fortunes around and helped his new side to a top half finish.

It is a mouthwatering prospect to think for Newcastle fans what Kenedy will achieve with the club given a full season with them, and now he has fully settled into life in the city, he may be able to make an even bigger impact next season.

Young, ambitious and highly rated

At 22 years of age, Kenedy is poised to have the best season of his career so far and his energetic style of play bodes well for Newcastle next season.

You only have to look back as far as April to see the kind of teams interested in taking Kenedy into their ranks for the new season. Sky Sports reported that Bayern Munich and PSG were considering launching bids for the winger; a testament to how highly rated he is.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham signing Gonzalo Martinez would put pressure on countryman Erik Lamela

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a move for the Argentine this summer.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur are one of three teams being linked with a move for Gonzalo Martinez this week. Calciomercato report the River Plate man is on the radar of Everton, Southampton and indeed Spurs. With a £13.3 million price-tag, an Italian passport and a reservoir of talent it is easy to see why Spurs might be keen on the player.

His arrival would, however, put immediate pressure on a Tottenham Hotspur fan favourite. The parallels between Martinez, or ‘Pity’ as he is known, are fairly remarkable. Firstly, there is the Argentinian connection but both are also River Plate products. Then there is their style of play. Both are left-footed attacking midfielders, capable of playing from either side and creative in their style of play.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The main difference between the two is physique. Lamela, lean and tall, towers over the more diminutive pocket-rocket that is Martinez.

But his arrival would certainly put pressure on Lamela to become more consistent for Tottenham. That is not just regarding his form, but also his fitness. Injuries have become a big issue for Lamela at Tottenham and Martinez could be viewed as a potential replacement.

In a week where rumours of a contract extension are rife and considering how universally popular the hard-working Lamela is that would seem odd.

However, it might be nice to see him put under pressure by his countryman if Spurs do bring in the bargain buy.

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