Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham are “awake” in the January transfer window and are keeping an eye out for potential deals – but he insists no signings are close, and admits this is a difficult time of year for recruitment.
Spurs have only signed one senior player in the January window since Pochettino arrived in north London – Dele Alli in 2015 – and the Argentinian is not expecting any incomings for now.
“Until today, now, no-one is close to arriving in this transfer window,” he said. “Maybe in five minutes something happens. But until now, before the press conference, nothing is close.
“I’m not concerned, not worried. I think we’re working and of course we’re awake about the market. If something’s available in the terms that we can take, of course we are going to do it. But if not… it’s difficult.
“I think you know better than me, if you want to sign players that you are going to use and [are going to] help you, it’s difficult to find this opportunity – or, like with Liverpool and Barcelona, they pay a lot of money and you cannot stop the player, like it was with Van Dijk or Coutinho.
“That is the case, or [you sign] players with six months or four and a half months until the end of their contract. Maybe that is an opportunity, like all the rumours now about Alexis [Sanchez], that maybe happens or doesn’t happen. But that is the situation in this transfer window, that always it’s difficult.
“Dele Alli, we signed him and then we kept him playing at Milton Keynes, and it was only two days a week training with us to adapt for after the pre-season, to help him adapt to the team and the club.”
Asked whether Spurs are interested in Bordeaux’s Brazilian forward Malcolm, Pochettino replied: “That is another rumour. There are a lot of rumours in the media.
“I think you know how the business is today. I think in three and a half years, I saw in the media a minimum of 100 names and in the end we signed few. Rumours.”
While Tottenham are yet to add to their squad this month, and may not do so, they have allowed French winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to leave on loan, joining Burnley for the rest of the season.
“I think we have all the quality to have success in the squad,” said Pochettino. “GK wasn’t too much involved and of course he’s young and needs to play more and feel more involved in the games.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to show himself at Burnley, and I hope and wish he can play a lot and can show his quality there.”
The sums involved in football transfers can be eye-watering, and are only increasing – Virgil van Dijk has just become the most expensive defender in the world after swapping Southampton for Liverpool for £75million.
Cash often seems to trump values such as loyalty, but Pochettino does not believe that players are primarily motivated by what they can earn – even if some of their advisors are.
“For me it’s not about money,” said Spurs’ manager. “Of course it’s a business and there are many people – too many people – involved in this business, and the people who look after every single player try to get the best for their clients.
“But the players play because they love football, there’s no doubt about that. Today it’s more professional than 30 or 40 years ago, and all that is around every single player is like a company. They look after the players, to try to get them the most benefit possible. That’s it.”
Silverware is also important when players are considering their futures, and Harry Kane’s contentment is a constant source of speculation given he is yet to win a trophy with Spurs.
Pochettino said last weekend that Coutinho’s move from Liverpool to Barcelona shows “how difficult it is for the clubs to keep their best players” – but he maintains he has no worries about Kane.
“Harry’s happy,” he said today. “I think I told you and told our fans that he’s happy. He loves Tottenham and only [I said] that everyone wants to win – us, the club, Daniel, the players, the fans.
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“Of course everyone wants to win, and wants to win in the place that you love – and for Harry it’s so special to win titles or trophies at Tottenham.
“At the moment he achieves a lot of individual trophies and awards, and of course he would like to offer to our fans and the club collective trophies or awards, and he’s top because of this – because he always wants to win.”
Spurs will be without Danny Rose and Harry Winks for tomorrow’s home game against Everton at Wembley, in addition to Toby Alderweireld. Rose is recovering from a knee problem and Winks is still trying to shake off the ankle injury he picked up against Crystal Palace in early November.
“Danny’s doing his rehab at St George’s Park until next week – Wednesday,” said Pochettino. “We hope it’s not a big issue and he can be available again in the next few weeks.
“Last time he had a problem we shared with the doctors and physios from the FA. Always it’s so important to change the mindset. The players need time to change the mindset and I think it was the better thing to recover as soon as possible.
“Harry got an injection on Monday. Still he’s not training with the group and we’ll see next week if he can join the group and start to train again, but for tomorrow he’s not ready.”
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