Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino fears his side may be unable to compete for the Premier League title again this season, unless he can bring in fresh faces to help raise the game of his elite players.
Pochettino is aware that the club cannot compete on the same financial level as the other touted title contenders, but is adamant that new faces would be able to strengthen last season’s Premier League runners up.
Thus far, there have been no new arrivals at the club, and one major departure. The Spurs backline was handed a blow when it was announced that Kyle Walker would be joining Manchester City for a fee of around £52million, but gives a chance for highly-rated Kieran Trippier to step up.
With such a large transfer fee received for Walker, there will likely be hopes that it can be reinvested back into the squad.
Speaking to the media, Pochettino stressed the importance of having players fighting to be in the first team in every position, and complemented the transfer activity of some of their closest title rivals.
“How have Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and different clubs tried to improve their season?
“Bringing players and trying to put more pressure on their star players, their key players – and for us we need to do that too.”
When the Argentine first took over as manager in 2014 there were fears that the club’s star players would leave on their hunt for Champions League football, but with European football on the cards again now, it may be easier to convince star players to remain at Spurs.
“Right, now [I hear] we need to win some trophies, no? That is good, the pressure. I think it’s important to understand now that we need to be clever how we manage the expectation and how we need to put pressure on our own players.
“We understand that Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, [Eric] Dier, [Toby] Alderweireld are really good players. They want to win but need to feel the pressure a little bit to improve every season.
“If there’s no competition in behind it’s normal to drop your motivation, it’s normal to drop everything that you do. And then it’s difficult to win.”
Tottenham’s pre-season tour of the United States provided some of the youngsters with a chance to show their worth, and although there were signs of promise, Pochettino and Spurs Chairman, Daniel Levy, were in agreement that investment in the first team is pivotal.
“Every season we need to be clever in how we bring more energy and make sure our main players are not in a comfortable situation – because if not it is normal in human beings,” Pochettino said.
“If some players arrive with different energy then it’s: ‘OK, come on, we need to push, we need to run, we need to do the same.’ That is the risk we will have in the future if we only keep 11 players.
“We are finding the balance because now is the moment to maybe refresh the team with some new faces – and it’s sure that will happen. In three years, my experience with Daniel has always been trying to find a player to improve. The difference is were they the right or wrong signing?”
Ross Barkley is a player who remains firmly in the frame for a move to Spurs, but with the Evertonian entering the final year of his current deal, the quoted price of £35million seems to be putting off their advances for now.
It is also to be believed that Barkley’s wage demands are proving a stumbling block for the move.
It was also revealed that Chelsea’s new £58million striker Alvaro Morata, previously turned down the chance of a move to North London, due to fears he would be unable to compete with England striker Harry Kane.
“Morata talked about myself, in the media – he said: ‘Mauricio called me.’
“That was from the beginning, two years ago or more. He said to me: ‘Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?’ You know, if you go to try to sign a striker, they will say: ‘Eh, gaffer, you want me for what? To be on the bench?”
Tottenham begin their Premier League campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Newcastle, on Saturday August 13.