Mauricio Pochettino says that his club, Tottenham Hotspur, are not done dipping into the transfer market this summer/fall and that a striker capable of backing up and pushing Harry Kane for his place in the team remains item no. 1 on his wishlist.
[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup ]
“If you have [just] one and you fail, you are dead,” Pochettino said Thursday during his weekly press conference ahead of Tottenham’s trip to league-leading Leicester City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 am ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra). Pochettino and Co. have 11 days left until the close of the summer transfer window (Sept. 1).
Pochettino, when asked about Spurs’ still-to-be-done transfer dealings, from the Guardian:
“We have confidence we will bring in some offensive player but I can’t give the name today. Players that we want to bring here are always happy to join us. Tottenham is a big club, play very attractive football and our philosophy is very clear. I promise you: if we want to bring a player, they want to come. We need to bring the right profile for us.”
“This season we can play in two different options, two different systems. Like we played against Stoke, with two strikers, Nacer Chadli and Harry Kane. We can play in a different system, I think we have the players for it.”
There’s quite a bit to unpack in those two paragraphs — a bit of additional legwork tacked on by the partial language barrier between Pochettino and reporters — so let’s take it piece by piece.
1. “We have confidence we will bring in some offensive player” — This will make Spurs fans very happy, because it was painfully obvious during the 2-2 draw with Stoke that a second option is sorely needed — and that was before Kane picked up an injury and was subbed off.
2. “Players that we want to bring here are always happy to join us. … I promise you: if we want to bring a player, they want to come.” — Well, kind of, but not really. What Pochettino means to say is, “If we want to bring in a player who’s not ready for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City, they want to come,” because over the last few years, Spurs have been great at getting players ready for clubs of that caliber (Real Madrid, too). To his credit, Pochettino has had a lot of success with players like that (remember Southampton’s firesale last summer?).
3. “We need to bring the right profile for us.” — While this very much a, “Duh, why are you even pointing this out,” kind of statement, it’s interesting when considering what kind of striker Spurs still need. Last week came the signing of 22-year-old Cameroonian Clinto Njie, who possesses blistering pace and athleticism — two things Kane doesn’t necessarily have. While Kane is vastly underrated as an on-ball creator and passer for a striker his size, he’s by no means a target forward capable of holding up the ball and battering three defenders in the way, say, Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku often do. Spurs don’t have that kind of money ($50 million and $47 million, respectively), so expect Pochettino and head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, who linked up to great effect at Southampton, to attempt to unearth the next raw big man with loads of potential. Saido Berahino remains a possibility, but with the premium being placed on English talent these days, don’t count on chairman Daniel Levy forking over that kind of cash.
4. “Like we played against Stoke, with two strikers, Nacer Chadli and Harry Kane.” — LOL, he said Nacer Chadli can play as a striker.