Spurs summer manifesto: What to do to challenge next season
According to ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, Mauricio Pochettino has been “rescued by the kids” this season, following the club’s recent 3-1 victory over Newcastle United.
Spurs have on balance had a good season, and despite not challenging for any major honours, there are a lot of positives they can draw from the campaign. They are odds-on at 10/11 with Coral for a top six finish, though a late surge of five wins could see them finish in the top four, with them priced at 50/1 to do so, which would mean they could overthrow Manchester City in the process.
Currently, they trail the Premier League champions by seven points, though when Manuel Pellegrini’s side visit three days into May, Spurs can close the gap significantly, and leave it all to play for.
Whatever happens, Redknapp is partly right. Although Spurs haven’t been a sinking ship at any point during this term, it is thanks to a core of dedicated, young players as to why they are well positioned with five games to go.
None more so than this man.
Harry Kane smashed through the 30-goal goal barrier against Newcastle, and looks in no mood to letup. In the Premier League he is on 20, tied with Sergio Aguero, though at only 21, doing this next season without help, across multiple competitions could be too much of a burden.
It is fair to say, however, that he isn’t the only youngster to have stepped up this term for Spurs. Both Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb have been nothing short of brilliant in midfield and are developing into solid Premier League players under Pochettino.
Danny Rose is another, at left back who has blossomed and even Eric Dier who came in last summer as a relative unknown from Sporting Lisbon has flourished, showing what he could do, especially in the opening matches of the season.
This summer, Pochettino needs to sit down with Daniel Levy and discuss what needs to be done to guarantee his ambitious chairman’s vision of Champions League football.
While they seem to be well stocked in terms of having a young, talented foundation to build on, a few minor tweaks in the recruitment policy could add the requisite quality and depth needed to ensure the club continue to move forward.
The likes of Aaron Lennon and strikers Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor are likely to be surplus to requirements, while the jury may be out on Etienne Capoue and Paulinho. The latter picked up the man-of-the-match award against the Magpies, and it could be interesting to see whether he has done enough to force his way into Pochettino’s thinking for next term.
An emphasis on youth will no doubt form the bulk of the club’s transfer plans, and Pochettino and his chief talent spotter, Paul Mitchell, who followed him from Southampton might already have a shortlist drawn up.
With Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris, the jewels in their crown and Nacer Chadli not far off being that status, following a much-improved campaign, as well as their youth stars, the north London outfit can be confident of attracting top talent.
Bringing in a right winger is one priority they will earmark, more so if Lennon completes a permanent move to Everton, where he is currently on loan. Leonardo Bittencourt could be one player who has caught the eye.
The 21-year-old Hannover winger is blessed with ability and has been an ever present for his club this season, though he may not be too costly, with any fee likely to be in the £10m region.
Recruiting in attack will be a definite priority, and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette, like Kane has had a breakthrough campaign, scoring 29 goals in 36 appearances. It will be interesting to see where he goes, though being able to operate from either wing, or as a striker he would be perfect for Spurs.
Danny Ings, available on a free transfer is also an excellent option, and could form a devastating partnership with former England Under-21 colleague Kane.
Just a sprinkling of fairy dust this summer could produce a magical season next term for Spurs with their hugely talented crop of youngsters set to push on and challenge for major honours under Pochettino. Secure Champions League this season though, and it could be a different story in the summer!