With Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola being confirmed additions to the Premier League, rumours continuing to perpetuate of a possible Manchester United-Mourinho union and the near certainty of Jürgen Klopp building upon his Liverpool squad this summer, the jostle for a top four position could prove to be more competitive than ever in 2017.
Following the conclusion of a season of real improvement at White Hart Lane, we investigate the thoughts of the team on what must be done to ensure that Tottenham can build upon the momentum of an outstanding top three finish under Mauricio Pochettino in 2015/16.
Here’s what the team had to say.
Josh Smith Editor for Kings of The Lane:
“The dust has settled on another Premier League campaign, and for many of us it’s left us in a slight state of confusion. Whilst on one hand we’ve had to suffer the annual kick to the nether regions that Arsenal deliver us, on the other we find ourselves sitting in 3rd after a game title push, leaving us looking forward to Champions League football for the first time since we qualified in 2010.
Whilst the final day embarrassment will be hard to reconcile for a good long while, when we look back on this season we must ultimately look at it as a great success.
The youngest squad in the league had the experience of a title race and from this disappointment should come back stronger.
That being said, what do Pochettino and his young guns need to do over the summer to ensure this season wasn’t a one-off, and show Spurs are ready to go again in the league and ready to test themselves against Europe’s elite.
The most important thing any club does over the summer is recruitment. Now more than ever Tottenham must get any business they are planning to do early. This is important for two reasons.
Firstly, the upcoming European Championships are this summer, and any player who has a good tournament will see their value pushed up by around 30-40%. Deals also don’t get completed whilst a player is away on international duty, and if Spurs don’t move quickly other clubs could move in on any player we’re trying to bring in.
Secondly, Pochettino’s pre-season preparation is notoriously hard. Last year, Kevin Wimmer, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld were all brought in with enough time to complete pre-season. Whereas Clinton N’Jie and Heung-Min Son were brought in later. The latter two went on to have seasons disrupted by injury due to not being at the required level of fitness to play Pochettino’s system. Therefore, it is vitally important that all signings are available for pre-season.
It seemed as if Levy had started to learn his lesson last season as ghree out of the five were ready. But if we are to start strongly all new arrivals need to make the most out of pre-season.
Finally, Pochettino himself must prepare for the next season with a view to the long term. The main criticism of Pochettino teams is that they fade as the season draws to a close. We saw that at Southampton and we especially saw it this year.
Poch must either recruit a calibre of player that can rotate into the side with little to no drop in quality when the first XI starts to tire, or, find a new system that still gets results that doesn’t demand the gruelling effort of his current tactics for when the physical condition of our players inevitably drops.”
Quality that can add value from the bench is a must. Bye bye Mason?
Joe Thomas, Operations Manager and regular contributor:
“For me, the most critical factor for ensuring a good start to the campaign is one that is sadly out of the club’s control – all of Tottenham’s biggest stars coming back from the Euros injury free, well-rested and raring to go.
A good pre-season is also a must. Tottenham proved themselves to be fitter than almost any other team over the campaign just gone and the boys coming back in peak physical condition will be vital in building upon the success of 2015/16.
Players returning late from the Euros will be a factor that Pochettino did not have to contend with this time last year, listening to the opinion of his conditioning and medical teams will be vital if he is to balance out the delivery of a fighting fit squad with the risk of players succumbing to burn out. A pre-season that is for the players, rather than for commercial reasons is very important.
Raymond Verheijen’s predictions that Spurs would falter towards the end of season due to the intensity of their playing style also proved accurate as they picked up a meagre two points in the last four games and is something else that must be combated if the club is to push on from this year’s campaign.
Retaining an identifiable style of play will also prove important come next season. The last team to break into the top four, Liverpool, lost not only Luis Suarez that summer but also an identity to their game as they crashed out of Europe’s elite competition early doors.
The ability to add a depth of quality to key areas will also be an area of importance to the club.
The shear volume of games next season will mean that Pochettino cannot depend on a core team of players Saturday to midweek and back again.
Whilst the manager has two quality players for each position in the back line, with Wimmer and Dier proving more than adequate deputies to the imperious Vertonghen and Alderweireld, he will likely look to add to the midfield this window.
Tottenham’s failure to win either of their matches following the suspensions of Alli and Dembélé highlighted a dearth of quality in this vital area as both Mason and Carroll failed to impress. At least one quality central midfielder will be an important addition if the club is to realistically fight on two fronts next year.
A realistic alternative to Harry will also be a vital addition. Whilst Kane has delivered an astounding 46 league goals in the last two seasons and proven virtually unbreakable, it would be foolhardy to tempt fate by not delivering on a striker that can help shoulder some of the goalscoring burden next year.”
Could Tottenham’s intensive style of play prove a burden next year?
Matt Boon, our regular pre-match analyst:
“For me, there are three simple points I want to see us improve upon:
1) We need game changers on the bench…. Not many of our subs can come on and change the course of a match
2) Sign an experienced centre midfielder! It’s all good having younger players, but as Dembélé has proven, we need some experience in the middle!
3) A second striker… We can’t rely on N’jie after an injury hit season whilst Son just doesn’t cut it for me!”
Time for N’Jie to step up and be counted for in 2016/17
Tom Hackett, regular contributor:
“For Spurs to establish themselves in the top 4 and be able to compete in Europe next season, an investment to improve the squad depth is necessary as the first team look strong.
A new striker is needed to compete with Harry Kane which would not only offer a different option to Kane but also encourage Kane to continue to improve; maybe a player like Lacazette or Batauyshi could be the answer.
Cover in central midfield is also key, as Mason and Carroll have not proven good enough this season when replacing Dembélé or Dier.
Spurs also lack a player with raw pace in attack, especially when Clinton has been out. As seen from Bale and Lennon’s performance in the Champions League, pace was an effective asset and if Spurs could find a winger with similar qualities it could prove a wise investment.
If Spurs strengthen in all three areas, title winners would not be an impossibility.”
Tom believes further quality out wide is a must next season
Three overriding points to be taken from the thoughts of the Kings of The Lane team – adding a depth of quality in the key areas of central midfield and the front line coupled with a good pre-season in readiness for a long campaign ahead!
Find the thoughts of our lad from down under Sam Carter here!
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