Tottenham Hotspur made history last summer when they became the first Premier League side to not spend transfer money ahead of a new season.
In the end, they managed to make it work. Mauricio Pochettino did already possess a capable squad, and despite key personnel missing at various stages of the 2018/19 campaign, they have an historic Champions League final to enjoy.
Never before have Spurs been this far in the European Cup. The Lillywhites’ current incarnation are on the cusp of writing a beautiful new chapter.
Their success, though, might come at a price. Pochettino, who is already coveted by a number of high-profile European clubs, said before their semi-final meeting with Ajax that a win in Madrid (against Liverpool) could see him depart north London.
It’s therefore obvious that strengthening his/their squad – so they can regularly compete for the English championship and in Europe’s premier club competition – is paramount to keeping him energised.
He’s already professed his love for Spurs, but football is more than romance, it’s about chasing glory. And Spurs, who reasoned that financing their new state of the art ground as why they were inactive in last year’s market, are not going to let lightning strike twice.
We’ve had a look at five different sources to suggest five signings the club are expected to make. But who are the sources, and what did they recommend? Read on to find out!
1. What the manager wants
Pochettino hasn’t come out and explicitly named names. That would be very uncharacteristic of him. Instead, he’s stressed that Spurs are not in Kansas anymore. The days when they were on the outside looking in are long gone, so looking ahead, he’s thrown down the gauntlet at the powers that be.
Are they serious about becoming regular challengers for the Premier League, eventually winning it, and becoming an elite European club, or not? If they are, he’s all in, but that means entering the same conversation as their rivals.
“I am not open to start a new chapter with no plan, with no clear idea, with not being transparent,” he said.
“I know very well how this business works. And we know we need to operate in a different way – that doesn’t mean to spend more or less money. But if we expect every season to be in the final of the Champions League, we need to create a plan. And the plan maybe is different to what has happened in the last five years.
“If we believe that if we operate in the same way that we have operated in the last five years we are going to be every season in the final of the Champions League, and in the top four and competing against projects like Liverpool or Manchester City or Manchester United, I think we are very naive.
“If you want to expect the same from Liverpool, from Manchester City or Manchester United and Chelsea, and you put the same expectation on Tottenham, give me different tools to work. If not, I see the people working in the same way, in the future I’m going to be this guy. I am the most stupid person to work.”
2. A view from the press box
BBC Sport’s transfer guru David Ornstein has predicted a very busy summer for Spurs, with plenty of ins and outs. They’re expected to make a move for Ryan Sessegnon, who has long been on their radar, and with Fulham relegated it seems inevitable the young English defender-cum-midfielder – also reportedly keen on making the switch – will be learning at the feet of Pochettino next season.
As they potentially say hello to Sessegnon, there are expected to be a few goodbyes. Pochettino, according to the Evening Standard, will oversee a mass clear-out.
No fewer than 12 players are being considered. Included among the names are Kieran Trippier, Serge Aurier, Vincent Janssen, Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko.
Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld, both of whom are entering the final year of their existing contracts, are tipped to depart as well. Eriksen, reportedly unwilling to extend his deal, has plenty of admirers including Real Madrid and Barcelona.
3. An ex-player’s thoughts
Jermaine Jenas spent eight years at White Hart Lane and remains in sync with his former club. Today he’s a pundit and like many ex-players, he wants the club he once served to continue getting better and stronger.
It’s obvious to him where Spurs need focussing, and that just so happens to be where he thrived. If reports are to be believed then Pochettino is set to have a new look midfield for the 2019/20 season.
Spurs have already lost Mousa Dembele this year and could see the back of Eric Dier and Sissoko; so Jenas feels they need to be ahead of the curve and looking at two standout Premier League performers.
“I can see Leicester getting attacked at some point this year. [Wilfred] Ndidi has had a good season. In line with [Abdoulaye] Doucoure at Watford. These are the midfielders that Spurs, [Manchester] United could do with,” he recently told BT Sport.
4. The neutral’s tip
There is no doubt whatsoever Harry Kane is Spurs’ talisman, or main man if you want. Since bursting onto the scene he’s bagged 164 goals across 252 appearances, making him the club’s fourth most prolific goalscorer in history.
As great as he is though, Kane needs help. We’ve seen the likes of Heung-min Son step up and share that burden of regularly finding the net, but the South Korean forward is no Kane understudy.
Spurs need to bring in a capable No. 9. The aforementioned pairing of Janssen and Llorente – even if the latter played a pivotal role in reaching this year’s Champions League final – have simply not cut the mustard and ex-Liverpool captain turned Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson feels the same way.
“I think Fernando Llorente could move on too as he will want more game time, so it is similar to Liverpool they will need a decent forward to work alongside or perhaps off Harry Kane,” he said.
It’s hard, though, to see Pochettino move away from his tried and tested formation but having a proven goalscorer in reserve means they can compete on all four fronts.
5. Squawka predicts
Losing a player of Eriksen’s mastery would be unforgivable if Spurs didn’t adequately replace him. Now we are not saying like for like, there’s very few who possess his footballing intellect, but someone who could grow into the role potentially vacated by the Dane is James Maddison.
Touted for a bright future whilst at Norwich, the Coventry-born playmaker is fulling that destiny at Leicester City and last season – Maddison’s first in the English top-flight – he was the only player to create 100 goalscoring chances, and the first English player to do so since Leighton Baines in 2012/13.
Spurs have long been associated with Maddison and it would make perfect sense to approach him if Eriksen does end a six-year association with the north London outfit.
James Maddison's Premier League season by numbers:
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 12, 2019
Elsewhere, we are predicting a new right-back, and while Trippier and Aurier are tipped to go, Pochettino has Kyle Walker-Peters on standby, but chances are they’ll opt for experience.
But going back to midfield, we know this an area where Spurs need bolstering. One name that has recently cropped up, and he’s got the profile to shine under Pochettino, is Youri Tielemans, who seemingly no longer sees his future at Monaco (where his contract expires in June 2022) especially now he’s tasted Premier League football.
The 22-year-old box-to-box midfielder thrived in his brief spell on loan at Leicester, where he forged a neat partnership with Maddison, registering three goals and four assists in 13 appearances. Spurs, though, know there’s a string of clubs after him. However, their advantage is with what they’re building, and a guarantee of Champions League football, as well as the brand of football being played.