SN Blog 58

So, we are now just days away from our Champions League quarter final first leg; how is everyone feeling? Manchester City are probably the strongest team in Europe right now so regardless of the fact they are also English it is going to be a big European night at the new White Hart Lane – the sort of night when the stadium was announced and then being built we all dreamed about.

The Champions League aside however we have a real battle this season in the Premier League to maintain our top four status with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and us battling for the two remaining slots behind Liverpool and Manchester City. How we have ended up being dragged into this fight is another matter, it is what it is now and we have to show real fight and desire to get over the line.

Our remaining league fixtures see us at home more than away but as we all know there are no easy games in the Premier League. We have to fight because securing Champions League for next season is arguably more important this season than in our previous three. Why? Simple. This summer the squad is set to be overhauled and to do that we need the financial boost of the Champions League in addition to its lure for top players across Europe.

It is actually this squad overhaul that I wanted to write about today as it was not until this past week that I was reminded our manager has done this before at our club. His first season ended and in that summer following he ripped out what was the spine of the team, moving on many players and recruiting / promoting from within and we kicked on from there.

In that summer we saw the likes of Michael Dawson, Aaron Lennon, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Younes Kaboul, Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor leave.

It appears for us to take the next step we are going to need to do that again so let us take a walk through our squad, where is he likely to make those changes.

Kaboul was our club captain in Pochettino’s first season and was moved on in the summer following as the manager saw we clearly needed an upgrade at the back and the arm band was then passed to our current captain Hugo Lloris. This season has been the Frenchmans poorest for us since he signed. He has conceded more goals from errors than any other “top six” keeper in the Premier League and of the remaining eight UEFA Champions League teams this season.

The issue is when it comes to upgrades we have seen just last summer a new goalkeeper is costing the best part of £80m; is this something the club are willing to spend on this position? I would argue no and therefore I believe Hugo will remain and still be our captain for next season with Gazzaniga our number 2 and young Alfie Whiteman as third choice.

BUT should we want to look for a new goalkeeper I do actually believe there is one that is available in our price range. It has long been said that PSG would welcome the chance to bring Lloris back to France; a fee in the region of £25m was mooted after the World Cup and I believe that would still be possible now – however we would of course need to make a move then and I believe Jasper Cillessen from Barcelona would fit the bill.

The 29yr old Dutchman is second choice at Barcelona currently and is said to be available this summer as he wants first team football. Younger than Lloris by a few years he is still an experienced international but also not only a ‘sweeper keeper’ when needed is also great with his feet and has far better distribution. He is, without doubt an upgrade on this seasons Lloris.

I know I have just gone into detail discussing that one position, do not panic, I am not going to do that for all however I felt giving Lloris is our club captain and goalkeeper upgrades are so expensive it was worth showing an example of how it could be done.

The other players I believe need to move on this summer are; Vorm (end of contract), Rose, Trippier, Aurier, Carter-Vickers, Onomah, Wanyama, Sissoko, N’koudou, Lamela, Llorente (end of contract) and Janssen.

It is of course possible this summer we will also lose Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen. These two players have been great for us and so if they do move on, so be it, however if I could find a way to keep them I obviously would. Would that list above of players I believe need to leave change if we lose Toby and Chris? No, I still believe this squad needs a massive overhaul.

One name many might think I have missed is Ben Davies. I must admit, our full backs have been so poor this season I have wanted them all to leave however with Ben I think it is important to note he has carried a minor injury all season which will be corrected this summer and also e provides us with a good squad option where he is able to play as a central defender in addition to full back. As Pochettino prefers a close knit squad supplemented by the academy having versatile players makes sense.

The long list I have provided though does have a number of players that I rate and like but are simply injury prone and we can upgrade. Rose, Wanyama and Lamela are just three examples of players that simply do not contribute enough over a season to justify their places in the squad due to injury. Others are simply they have been so poor this year, Trippier and Aurier for example, that is evident to kick on and win things they have to be upgraded.

So, should the manager go for this overhaul approach do you believe we as a club will actually pay the money needed to secure the players to take us up to the next level as indicated by the manager in his recent press conferences? That is I think the big question and one only time will answer.

Either way, with the new stadium finally open this summer is going to be an interesting one for us as a club. Time for us to show ambition.


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