Friday, 6 May 2016

Do not expect Tottenham to spend big this summer

Anyone expecting high-profile arrivals at Tottenham this summer has surely missed the point.

Transfer speculation is starting to rear its ugly head again and Spurs playmaker Christian Eriksen this week claimed Champions League football will help bring top players to White Hart Lane. 

He told the Evening Standard: "The way people see the club now is different. That's also the case for players because they know we are sure of a Champions League place this season - so the situation is already better.

"When players have seen our games, they will know what we are capable of. It's hard work but it's a fun team to play in and hopefully players will see that.”

But boss Mauricio Pochettino has brought title hopes and attacking flair back to Tottenham by putting faith in young players and working hard on the training field. So do not expect huge names or huge money to define the summer at N17, regardless of the whopping new 5.1billion TV megadeal. 

Club chairman Daniel Levy worked tirelessly for years to find a manager who bought into his own ethos and he will not change direction now.

The North Londoners have been linked with £20million-rated Lyon centre-back Samuel Umtiti - although it is worth bearing in mind that this season’s sometime pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer cost less than that combined. 

Another supposed target is Marseille forward Michy Batshuayi but, if rumours are true, we will have to top a £31.5million bid from West Ham. Again, not likely. In a season that has already proven you do not need big bucks to win the title, splashing big money around would be counter-productive.

The spine of the Spurs team is stronger than it has been in decades. Keeping that core of Hugo Lloris, Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane together is the priority. 

You might see one or two squad reinforcements - such as another cool-headed holding midfielder or back-up for Kane up front - but, with our first XI yet to realise its massive potential, why upset the balance elsewhere? 

It's near impossible to pick up a player ready to rival Eriksen, Erik Lamela or any of them, really, without paying £40m-plus.

Those that do come through the door will more likely be heavily scouted youngsters with bags of potential as Levy looks to repeat the success of Young Player of the Year Alli, who cost just £5m from MK Dons last summer, and £4m Dier the year before.

A deal for Fulham forward Moussa Dembele (not to be confused with current Spur ‘Mousa’) fell through last January, so do not be surprised if we are quickly back in for the 19-year-old.

Some of last year's signings will also be trusted, maybe expected, to step up to the plate in order to take our squad depth to more convincing levels.

Heung-min Son was sharp and spritely when he first arrived from Bayer Leverkusen for around £22m last August but looked jaded and burnt out by January.  That could be due to Pochs' demanding regime and the lack of the winter break he was used to in Germany. But with a full pre-season the South Korean will start to match the fitness levels required to go the distance.

Clinton NJie came in for around £12m from Lyon but struggled with injuries and he is another who will benefit from Poch's methods over a full pre-season.

The Cameroonian struggled to make an impact before knee surgery wrecked his rookie campaign - but his explosive pace and determination to get forward could prove vital next season as teams try to park the bus more often and force us more often into counter-attacking tactics.

Add in full-backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies - both constantly improving - and even with European football to think about it is actually looking like a very well-equipped squad.

You also expect Argentine Poch to delve further into the youth system and look to promote more promising prospects from the development squad.

Names like Kyle Walker-Peters, Josh Onomah, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Harry Winks are all pushing for more first-team involvement. And do not be surprised to see Shayon Harrison feature well in pre-season.

The striker, 18, hit his first hat-trick for the Under-21s in April - and the last player to hit a treble at that level was a certain Mr Kane just months before he exploded onto the Premier League scene at Villa Park.

Eriksen is still  yet to sign a new contract, with rumours the 24-year-old is due to pen an £80,000-a-week, five-year deal in the near future. 

The Dane might just find that he himself turns out to be our biggest signing of the summer.

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