Mauricio Pochettino wants quick decisions on Tottenham departures

• Manager will need to balance new signings with outgoings
• Mousa Dembélé, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld could leave

Mauricio Pochettino wants his demand for bravery and risk-taking in the summer transfer market to extend to swift decisions over the players he is willing to sell – namely Mousa Dembélé, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld.

The Tottenham manager is determined to improve his squad after a third-place Premier League finish in order to take the final step to trophies next season and he would love Daniel Levy, the chairman, to sanction a massive investment drive.

In his heart Pochettino knows that is unrealistic; he will continue to have to balance signings with outgoings because of the repayment costs associated with the club’s £850m new stadium.

Yet he is keen for there to be clarity over the assets in the squad on which he could cash in – and it means doing early business with them to give him greater flexibility on his signings. The transfer window in England closes on 8 August.

It will doubtless disappoint some fans and players that Pochettino is prepared to consider offers for Dembélé – most of the playing staff rate the midfielder as their No 1 team‑mate. But there are concerns over his fitness – whether he can stay the course, in physical terms, for another season in England.

Dembélé had ankle surgery last summer, started this season slowly and finished it back in the treatment room with an ankle injury. The 30-year-old could be tempted by a final major pay day in China, where Beijing Guoan are interested in him. He has one year to run on his contract.

Rose blotted his copybook last August when he gave an interview in which he urged the club to sign more world-class players and made plain his frustrations at the wage structure. Everton want the left-back this summer.

Alderweireld’s situation has been well documented. Tottenham stand to lose him for £25m next summer because of a release clause in his contract and consequently they are keen to get more for him now. The centre-half has played six times for the club since 1 November, when he injured a hamstring, and the problem could be that his suitors would want him to prove his form and fitness at the World Cup for Belgium before they move for him.

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Pochettino was outspoken after his team’s final game of the season on Sunday – the 5-4 Wembley win against Leicester – when he prodded Levy over squad strengthening. It felt as though he was flexing his muscles from a position of power, the club having once again qualified for the Champions League, and it might not be coincidence that Pochettino is in talks over a new contract.

Pochettino was also seeking to mark his turf over the type of player he wants to sign. Typically Levy has preferred younger ones with resale value but Pochettino would like him to consider more seasoned professionals.

Harry Kane has said the emergence of Mohamed Salah at Liverpool has driven him to new heights. The Tottenham striker finished the season with a career-best 30 Premier League goals, though it was not enough for him to win the Golden Boot for a third year in succession.

Salah took the award with 32 goals, a record for a 38-game season. Kane scored 25 in 2015-16 and 29 in 2016-17 and he got 21 in 2014-15 when he finished as runner-up to Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero in the Golden Boot. The 24-year-old is determined to maintain his upward path and has set himself the target of bettering Salah’s total.

“I am looking forward to the competition again next season,” Kane said. “I haven’t seen Mo to talk with him. But this is what you want at the highest level – you want to be fighting for things and I think we pushed each other. He broke the record for a 38-game season and that is what I will try to do next season.”


David Hytner

The GuardianTramp

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