Seven signings Spurs could target to stop Mauricio Pochettino joining Chelsea

Seven signings Spurs could target to stop Mauricio Pochettino joining Chelsea

After leading Tottenham to three successive top four finishes in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino is understandably demanding more backing from his current employers.

The Argentinian recently lamented at missing out on priority signings because Spurs’ Premier League rivals have deeper pockets.

Consequently, there are now fears that Pochettino will be become disillusioned with life at Tottenham if he isn’t given increased funds this summer.

And with Sky Sports claiming Chelsea could make a move for the Spurs boss to replace Antonio Conte at the end of the season, those fears are likely to intensify.

If chairman Daniel Levy has any aspirations of keeping Pochettino at the club, then he will certainly need to back him in the transfer window.

The expected sales of Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele could raise possible funds for Tottenham to do exactly that.

So we’ve picked out seven players that Spurs could target to keep Pochettino happy.

Matthijs de Ligt – Ajax

Since breaking into the Ajax first-team at the age of just 17, Matthijs de Ligt has been tipped to become Europe’s next elite centre-back.

It makes sense, then, that Tottenham are reportedly interested in him, considering they may be about to lose Alderweireld, one of the best defenders in the country.

According to the London Evening Standard, Manchester United are confident of signing Alderweireld, and Spurs are targeting De Ligt as his replacement.

The teenager has previously been linked with Barcelona and Arsenal, as Ajax value him at around £50m.

Already a full Netherlands international, De Ligt would be an ideal long-term replacement for Alderweireld.

Key stat: De Ligt became the youngest player to feature for the Netherlands (17y 225d) after making his debut for the national side in March.

Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli

At 26 years of age, Koulibaly would be a more readymade Alderweireld replacement than De Ligt, and perhaps that is what Pochettino requires.

Last week, Pochettino spoke of beginning a “new project” at Tottenham, which could suggest that he wants to focus on the short-term rather than continuing to build for the future.

If that’s the case, Koulibaly would arguably make more sense than De Ligt.

The Napoli centre-back has been an established name in Serie A for some time and was part of the joint-second best defence in the Italian top-flight this term.

Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly set to lock horns in an effort to lure Koulibaly to the Premier League this summer, but Spurs may attempt to entice the Senegal international with Champions League football.

Key stat: Koulibaly has been more accurate with his passing than any other Napoli player in Serie A this season (91%).

Mateo Kovacic – Real Madrid

This one might be a tad ambitious given that Kovavic has been touted as the heir to Luka Modric’s central midfield throne at Real Madrid.

Modric’s influence has waned ever so slightly this season, but there is still a good chance he will hold down his place in Madrid’s line-up next term.

With that in mind, could Tottenham tempt Kovacic with a guaranteed starting place?

Mousa Dembele is expected to leave Spurs this summer, and Pochettino will require a top class central midfielder to replace the Belgian.

Kovacic certainly fits the bill, but by leaving the Bernabeu he may be giving up his only chance of becoming a star at one of the world’s biggest football clubs.

According to AS, the 22-year-old is on Tottenham’s shortlist, and he could have a big decision to make this summer with a number of Serie A clubs also thought to be keen.

Key stat: Kovacic has played only 824 minutes of league football this season, almost 1,000 fewer than Dembele (1819). Both players have failed to score a single goal.

Layvin Kurzawa – Paris Saint-Germain

Ben Davies has done a fine job at left-back this season, but Spurs have lacked the dynamism of a fully fit Danny Rose.

Rose has struggled since returning from a long-term injury, and comments he made about leaving the club last year have curtailed his relationship with Pochettino.

Although he isn’t really considered a first-choice player anymore, Rose will need replacing with a new attacking full-back this summer.

Layvin Kurzawa – a Tottenham target according to the Mirror – could become the third player to make the move from PSG to Spurs in the space of the year after Serge Aurier and Lucas Moura.

Kurzawa has been rotated with the more defence-minded Yuri Berchiche, who incidentally is a former Tottenham player.

The 25-year-old would have to work for his place in the team under Pochettino, but his attacking credentials are what Spurs need if Rose leaves.

Key stat: Back in October, Kurzawa scored three times against Anderlecht, becoming the first defender to score a hat-trick in the history of the Champions League.

Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham

According to the London Evening Standard, Fulham are determined to hold onto teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon for at least a year if they are promoted to the Premier League.

But Sessegnon, who scored his 16th goal of the season to book Fulham’s place in the play-off final, just keeps increasing his own chances of earning a move to one of the ‘Big Six’ clubs.

Tottenham are said to be among the front-runners for the 17-year-old’s signature, and the faith Pochettino has placed in youth players could see Sessegnon choose Spurs over their rivals.

He would provide a useful wide option in attack as well as possibly filling in at wing-back – in fact, Tottenham may not need a Rose replacement if Sesesgnon arrives.

A reported £50m price tag could put Spurs off, but many believe he will be worth that fee down the line.

Key stat: With 16 goals and seven assists, Ryan Sessegnon has been directly involved in more Championship goals (23) than any other Fulham player this season.

Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City

Had Riyad Mahrez failed to light up the Premier League in Leicester’s 2015-16 title-winning campaign, then we might be talking about Tottenham as previous champions of England.

Instead, Spurs were left licking their wounds as Mahrez fired the Foxes to shock silverware.

Inevitably, Tottenham have been linked with the Algerian a few times since then, and the Standard claimed Spurs were monitoring his situation last summer.

Perhaps it is now time for Spurs to solidify their interest in the player who scored and assisted twice against them on the final day of the season.

Manchester City came close to signing Mahrez in January, but there is a chance the champions will pursue other targets this summer, giving Tottenham an opportunity to pounce.

The 27-year-old would provide Pochettino with that little bit of extra star quality, giving Spurs a better chance of closing the gap on the top two.

Key stat: Mahrez has been involved in 39% of Leicester’s 56 Premier League goals this season. Only four players have been involved in a higher percentage of their teams’ goals – Salah, Gross, Kane and Shaqiri. (Via @OptaJoe.)

Nabil Fekir – Lyon

If Mahrez proves too difficult to lure, Lyon star Nabil Fekir could be an interesting alternative.

Recent reports in France suggested Liverpool have agreed a deal for the 24-year-old, but ESPN claims the two clubs aren’t close to an arrangement.

There is a good chance Liverpool would be willing to offer Fekir a better salary than Tottenham, but Spurs may need to break their current wage structure in order to please Pochettino.

Tottenham have struggled to find an able deputy for Harry Kane over the last couple of years – Fekir could solve that problem.

The France international has scored 23 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions this term, and that goal threat could be priceless whenever Kane is out of form or unavailable.

Key stat: Fekir has been on target with 68% of his shots in Ligue 1 this season, a better accuracy rate than Neymar (63%).

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