Tottenham 'open' to January signings but transfer strategy unchanged despite Harry Kane and Dele Alli injuries

Dan Kilpatrick
Evening Standard
Tottenham 'open' to January signings but transfer strategy unchanged despite Harry Kane and Dele Alli injuries
Tottenham 'open' to January signings but transfer strategy unchanged despite Harry Kane and Dele Alli injuries

Mauricio Pochettino has said Tottenham will not change their transfer strategy after Dele Alli joined Harry Kane on the sidelines but the manager insisted Spurs are "open" to making signings this month.

Alli and Kane have been ruled out until early March with ankle and hamstring injuries respectively and Pochettino admitted it was "the worst moment" to lose the England pair, as Spurs prepare for four games in ten days, starting with Thursday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg at Chelsea

With Heung-min Son at the Asian Games with South Korea, Pochettino is desperately short of attacking options but he said he had no plans to recall £17million signing Vincent Janssen, explaining that the Netherlands international was not in the club's plans "for different reasons".

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Asked about Alli's injury, Pochettino said: "Now we need to be positive, like with Harry Kane. We're going to miss him for a long period, in one of the worst moments because we have busy fixtures ahead. For us the squad is so important and it's a good opportunity for other players to step up.

"Moussa Sissoko and Lucas [Moura] are in contention for tomorrow. [Victor] Wanyama, we'll see if it's possible for [him to play in] the FA Cup [at Crystal Palace] at the weekend. It's very good news.

Dele Alli faces several weeks on the sideline after injuring his hamstring against Fulham
Dele Alli faces several weeks on the sideline after injuring his hamstring against Fulham

"It’s so clear. I’m so open to improving the squad and adding players, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli fit or not fit," he added. "It’s so important to have a clear message to everyone: I was always open. I was open in the summer, I’m open now, but the different thing is the reality and it’s difficult for us to add players that can help us or improve our squad.

"It’s not that now because we suffer some injuries we’re going to change our strategy. It’s so clear. Always we were so open to finding the right profile and the right players to arrive and improve us. But we’re working. We’ll see what happens until the end. But we were always open to improving the squad.

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"It’s going to be difficult, as I told you in the past. If it was difficult in the summer, because in the end we had the squad full – we didn’t have space to sign players because we didn’t sell players – now of course it’s difficult too. This transfer window is always the most difficult transfer window and you know very well, there are not too many transfers [in January], with a lot of loans.

"It’s difficult to find the right players for all the clubs. Of course we’re Tottenham and to find the right profile to help us I think is going to be difficult. But we’re trying, we’re trying to deliver something.”

Janssen has made three appearances for Spurs' U-23s since recovering from foot surgery and Spurs are desperate to offload the forward this month, with interest from La Liga, MLS and China.

Vincent Janssen has no future at Tottenham Hotspur
Vincent Janssen has no future at Tottenham Hotspur

Pochettino said the decision to sideline the Dutchman, who spent last season on loan at Fenerbahce, was not personal.

"I think it's so clear that now it's one year and a half that he's not in our plans," Pochettino said. "He's not in Tottenham's plans, the player. That's so clear. Not in just the manager's plans but the club's plan.

"18 months ago we took the decision for him to try to find a different place to play because for different reasons it didn't work. That happens in football. The relationship between the player and the club doesn't work. You need to find the best solution. We are trying to get him fit as soon as possible because he's training with the U-23s at the club and trying to help him find his best and then try to find a club where he can be happy again and try to play but here it's impossible.

"It's very good. I see him in the changing room every day and the restaurant. It's not a personal problem, it's professional. For different reasons that professional relationship isn't working and we need to find a solution. We are trying to find the resolution. He got the injury months ago and we're helping him, trying to find the right place for him to feel again like a player and play football."

But Pochettino insisted that Tottenham's other forgotten man, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, was part of his plans after the winger came off the bench to set-up Harry Winks' winner at Fulham in his first League appearance of the season.

"Nkoudou was never in the same situation as Vincent," Pochettino said. "GK is in the squad and was involved against Fulham because he's in Tottenham's plans."

Spurs are aiming to win their first trophy since the 2008 League Cup and they lead Chelsea 1-0 from the first leg at Wembley. Pochettino, who is yet to win silverware as a manager, said it was an amazing experience to win trophies as a player but reiterated his regular claim that winning the League Cup would not take the club to the next level.

"After 10 years I don't know [what it feels like to win a trophy]," Pochettino said. "I will tell you in the moment I win. As won as a player a few titles and it is an amazing, unbelievable feeling. But like a manager I only won three times the Cataluna Cup. We will see. Of course it is going to be so important, but decisive for the club? To be decisive in putting the club in the next step like we are talking, I don't believe that."

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