If Tottenham Hotspur can’t match Pochettino’s ambition then someone else will

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A reluctance to strengthen last summer and in the January transfer window just gone has cost this Spur’s side a place in the final dash to the Premier League finish line with rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

While this is obviously disappointing from a fans perspective, it was always inevitable as they have been punching above their weight for the last couple of seasons.

For Pochettino and his team it has always been an uphill battle to compete with the teams around them at the top of the Premier League but since he was appointed back in May 2014 they have done exactly that.

When he took charge, Spurs had just finished in sixth position in the Europa League places just behind Everton.

Since then they have had three consecutive seasons in the Champions League (having only appeared twice previously in total) and mounted semi-serious challenges for the Premier league title.

These achievements warrant praise by themselves but it’s the manner of how he has achieved them and the way he has gone about doing so that deserves the most recognition.

In his time as manager at Tottenham, he has had to operate on a budget much smaller than the club’s around him in terms of transfer fees and wages offered.

A combination of improving current squad players, bringing through youth players into the first team such as Harry Kane and Harry Winks, and some savvy signings such as Toby Alderweireld for around £14 million has kept them challenging at the top.

Tottenham cannot compete with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City financially, but on the pitch they have managed to close the gap and even surpass some of their rivals by having a manager that is willing to work with what he has, up until a point that is.

After such a good last season, it was obvious that Spurs were going to have to strengthen their squad in the summer as all the teams around them were investing and trying to improve their own.

Pochettino made it clear in his last press conference of the 17/18 season against that his squad needed investment if it were to stay at its current level.

Summer came and went though as did January and no new faces were introduced.

Daniel Levy had decided against opening his cheque book, making Tottenham the first side of the Premier League era not to sign anyone at all in the Summer transfer window.

Still, Pochettino got on with the task at hand with hardly even a murmur or a grumble to the media about the lack of signings, a quality that a lot of other teams will have taken note of.

The Argentine is still young in managerial terms and his style of play is one that is effective and popular in the game today.

This doesn’t last forever though as tactics and styles change – just ask Jose Mourinho, who’s methods looked dramatically outdated at Old Trafford.

It’s one of the reasons Pochettino may decide to move on this summer if the right job comes up.

He has been linked with plenty of big sides over the last number of months with Manchester United and Real Madrid both rumoured to be interested in acquiring his services, clubs that would be able to offer him the resources to further advance his career.

So the question begs, has he taken this Tottenham team as far as he can and, if so, is it time to move on?

On the pitch, this team seems to have reached its ceiling and don’t seem to have much more improving to do.

Their new 62,000 capacity stadium has run way over budget – reportedly having at least doubled in cost from £400 million to anything up to £850 million.

This will almost certainly have an impact on how much money they have to spend on players in the future and may even lead to them selling one of their star players like Christian Eriksen to generate the funds they will need.

The situation mirrors that of North London rivals Arsenal, who have found themselves in a similar position over the last few years when they were paying off their own new stadium, the board seemingly happy to finish in the top four every season and balance the books.

Bereft of further ambition – and the willingness to match that ambition financially – Tottenham may find themselves in the same position.

Having achieved this already though and with his managerial career on an upward curve since he started with Getafe, Pochettino’s next move should be to join a club that can match his desires on and off the pitch and I don’t think many Tottenham fans would begrudge him that move.

The Author

Philip Flanagan

A West of Ireland based football writer/blogger. You can find me daily over at The Bottomless pit of football.

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