Tottenham Hotspur Manager Mauricio Pochettino Needs to Win a Trophy

Over the past two seasons, the role of chasing pack for the Premier League title has been left solely to Tottenham Hotspur.

In 2016, Mauricio Pochettino’s team trailed Leicester City for the majority of the season but couldn’t keep up the pressure, coming in second, after Arsenal. A year later, Spurs forced Chelsea to the penultimate game of the season to wrap up the title, but, ultimately, there was no trophy for Pochettino’s men.

His team faces a transitional period with its 2017–18 season home games at Wembley Stadium, while its White Hart Lane arena is demolished and rebuilt next door. As Pochettino prepares for his fourth season in north London, Newsweek looks at what he needs to address this summer.

Goalkeepers

Pochettino’s only concern between the posts will be if one of Europe’s giants looks to lure goalkeeper Hugo Lloris away from Spurs. Lloris has proven to be a world-class goalkeeper, worthy of a Premier League–winning team. His deputy, Michel Vorm, is more than capable to stand in when called upon.

Defense

With defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at its center, Tottenham Hotspur had the best defense in the Premier League last season. Pochettino also adopted a back-three later in the season, with Eric Dier at the heart. And it is Dier who is believed to be a subject of interest for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, and one worth £40 million, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Like much of the squad, defenders in the first team are of the highest quality, but Spurs may have to look for reinforcements. Kyle Walker’s exit from the club appears inevitable, with Pochettino preferring Kieran Trippier in the latter stage of last season. Manchester City reportedly wants to sign the English right back. So Pochettino will need to be in the market for a fullback to deputize for Trippier, as well as backup to Alderweireld and Vertonghen, who face playing more than 40 games again next season. Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is said to have been on that list, and would fit in well as a competent, skillful center back, but Spurs is likely to be priced out of the market as Southampton wants at least £50 million for him.

Related: Mourinho’s bargain, Romelu Lukaku’s decision and Kylian Mbappe is courted in today’s transfer roundup

Midfield

Much of the noise around Spurs so far this summer has been to do with players heading for the exit. Moussa Sissoko, who signed from Newcastle last summer, called his first year at White Hart Lane the “worst season” of his career. “If I have to leave, I hope they [Spurs] won’t cause a problem,” the Frenchman told L’Equipe. The concern for Pochettino, however, will be if Barcelona comes in for Christian Eriksen, the Dane who has starred in Spurs midfield since he moved from Ajax in 2013. “Barcelona are a great club, and I do not think there are many who say no to Barcelona,” Eriksen told Ekstra Bladet.

In terms of incomings, news in Germany that Bayern Munich is willing to sell Renato Sanches and Douglas Costa this summer will spark the interest of Pochettino. The Argentine coach has been on the lookout for a pacy winger—Sissoko was meant to be that man—and Costa would fit that profile. Tottenham is likely to face competition from United, however, for his signature.

Attack

Ever since Pochettino took over at Tottenham, he has been searching for a second striker to take the burden of goals from Harry Kane. Pochettino thought Roberto Soldado would be that man, but the Spaniard scored just seven times in two years at the club. Kane has consistently delivered, winning the Premier League Golden Boot last season with 29 goals, as well as providing seven assists. Last summer, he was joined by Vincent Janssen, the 22-year-old Dutch striker, but he has failed to fulfil the expectation in his first year at Spurs; Janssen scored just six goals in 38 appearances for the club.

He is still only 22 and scored twice for Holland on Wednesday night, showing his capability. But Pochettino will need to decide whether to stick or twist on Janssen before the start of the new campaign, with a second striker pivotal to Tottenham breaking its 10-year wait for a major trophy.

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