Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas believes the club will struggle to hold onto their star names unless they win silverware quickly as they head into what promises to be one of the most momentous seasons in the club’s history.
Spurs are due to play the first game at their sparkling new 62,000-seater stadium against Liverpool next month, with manager Mauricio Pochettino and star striker Harry Kane resisting the temptation to seek pastures new in a summer when they could have joined any of the world’s top clubs.
Real Madrid and Chelsea are among the clubs linked with efforts to prise the hugely impressive Pochettino away from Spurs, while Kane’s stock rose yet again he claimed the golden boot at the World Cup finals despite some blow par performances in his role as England captain.
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With so much to look forward to in a campaign that is guaranteed to be historic for Spurs, Jenas has warned they cannot allow the move to their new stadium to distract from the bleak statistics that confirm Spurs have a desperately meagre trophy haul of just two League Cup wins in the last 27 years.
“At some point, Tottenham have to start winning trophies and I would suggest that moment has to be this season,” BT Sport pundit Jenas told Yahoo Sport in an exclusive interview.
“Top managers and top players need to have their ambitions satisfied or they will look to move on and while Spurs are in a fortunate position to have people like Pochettino and Kane, who will not jump at the first big offer that comes their way, that loyalty will not last forever.
“The same goes for players like Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. These guys have become world class performers under Pochettino at Spurs and the club now needs to find a way to back this manager and take the club to the next level.
“I felt he reached the end of one chapter at Spurs last season. He secured Champions League football for a third successive season, which was impossible to imagine when he arrived, and now he will want more. That means moving to the new stadium with real ambition and a drive from the top of the club to go to the next level, which has to be winning trophies.
“The success Pochettino has brought to Spurs cannot be under-estimated. He has changed the image of the club from being a pretender to a contender and that was not easy to do, but this next step might be even harder.”
Pochettino’s end of season summit with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy last May focused on the club’s vision for the future, with the Argentine tactician making it clear that the wage structure at the club needed to be amended if they were to compete with their domestic and Champions League rivals.
Pochettino was top of the wanted list as Real Madrid looked to replace Zinedine Zidane and with that cloud hanging over Levy, he had little choice other than to cave into the demands of his most successful manager in recent years and start paying the kind of wages that will allow the club to keep their best players.
The Spurs boss duly signed a new contract a few days before Kane committed his future to the club by penning a new deal, but Levy’s failure to make a single signing in the summer transfer window has sparked concern among the club’s supporters and Jenas suggests the club need to ensure their star names retain their motivation to succeed at the club.
“The best jobs in world football are sitting and waiting for Mauricio when he decides the time is right to take them and the same goes for Kane,” he adds. “There is no rush for either of them. They have the ability to go on and achieve something historic with this Tottenham side and that must appeal because they have started this project and it would be great to finish it together as winners.
“As we sit here now, it’s hard to imagine anyone catching Man City in the title race, but Tottenham are a club moving forward at a rapid pace and I think it would be good for the game if a club working on a budget they are generating themselves enjoy long-term success.”
The opening weekend clash between promoted Wolves and Everton will begin BT Sport’s exclusive live Premier League campaign, with last season’s top six – Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal – all set to feature in August and September.