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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Kane and Alli not ready for Real Madrid


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I have had a trawl through the news in Spain recently and there are reports of Zinedine Zidane liking the Tottenham Hotspur pair of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, although both are not at Real Madrid level now I would suggest, despite their achievements.

Owen Hargreaves was asked if Kane would get in the Real Madrid side and he instantly replied he wouldn't get in the Real Madrid side, the Barcelona side or the Bayern Munich side, there were better strikers than him around at the moment. I'd have to agree with his assessment.

While this summer will be far too early for the pair to leave, the reports in Spain basically say it is only a matter of time before Real Madrid sign them. We'll see, I doubt they will sign Kane, he isn't mobile enough perhaps and Alli doesn't play in a way that suits their style of play, although I'm sure he could adapt.

The next couple of years are going to be important ones for Spurs. We need more UEFA Champions League football, a trophy, to get settled into the new stadium and take stock of where we are, challenging for titles hopefully. That might be the time to start wondering about their futures.


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Gareth Bale is not joining Chelsea or Man Utd


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Gareth Bale is not joining Chelsea or Man United


Two English teams may be interested in Gareth Bale, actually there are 20 Premier League clubs interested in him, none will sign him though.

The Daily Express amongst others want to suggest Manchester United and Chelsea are willing to pay £171.88 million (€200n - AUS$283.83m - US$214.78m) for him and they may be, but there is still no chance of signing him.

The rag suggest Gareth Bale is not happy with Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Real Madrid because he wants to be the leader of the team. That is complete nonsense, Gareth Bale wants to play for Real Madrid and is living his boyhood dream doing so. He has no intention to leave whatsoever and Real Madrid have absolutely no intention of selling him either.

That is the constant message that comes from Spain, but our press ignore that though, it doesn't fit their agenda. Chelsea and Man United supporters can dream, but it is pure fantasy. Manchester United don't even challenge anymore and are not guaranteed the UEFA Champions League football they once were which would be a prerequisite for such a worldwide popular player.


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Alderweireld fit for Sunderland


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Toby Alderweireld expected to be fit for Sunderland game

The news from Tottenham on Belgian centre-back Toby Alderweireld is that he is expected to be fit to face Sunderland, the same goes for Danny Rose.

As I wrote yesterday, anyone who has played sport and suffered from muscle strains knows how slowly they can heal, or if you catch them before they go, how quickly the problem disappears.

He hadn't torn his muscle so there was nothing to repair, his body just needed a rest so the FA Cup tie has come at an ideal time.

Alderweireld has committed only 13 fouls in 4625 mins of league football playing for Spurs. That is a foul every 355.77 minutes or one foul every 3.95 matches. That just demonstrates his great reading of the game and positional play, even though he was caught out a couple of times against Manchester City.

With Jan Vertonghen out we need his leadership in central defence to help Kevin Wimmer. We now have two centre-backs thrown together who do not normally play together so that causes a problem when one isn't reading the play of the other. Vertonghen and Alderweireld know what each other is going to do, they have played together that often. 

A new partnership means more gaps will appear and we shouldn't be looking at a game and suggesting Wimmer had a bad game, we should be looking to see how the pair operated together and then looking at training to adjust their play for the next game. We now need to build the combination. If we simply threw in Ben Davies for the Sunderland game and he has a bad game, what then? Change again?

The Alderweireld, Wimmer partnership must be given time, especially give how Wimmer performed when a regular last season, clearly he is up to the task.


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Real Madrid don't want another Modric


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That Dele Alli goal vs Crystal Palace

As I reported earlier the Dele Alli to Madrid stories emanate from the British press rather than the Spanish press. It is the British press who say Real Madrid will make a summer move and they have also thrown PSG at the story.

French football is somewhat of a step down, it is a one team league so rather pointless. While the Spanish press report what the English press say, they also add that they do not want another Luka Modric or Gareth Bale type situation that in the eyes of supporters at least soured the relations between the two clubs.

They also report that Tottenham are not considering selling Dele Alli and will not entertain any talks.They say that unless Dele Alli asks to leave, something that today is unlikely, nothing will happen.

Of course we all know Real Madrid use the media to unsettle players but Dele Alli seems very settled at Tottenham and it is too early in his career to sit on a bench at Real Madrid.

Our press are throwing £50 million at the story, however, the CIES Football Observatory, who are historically accurate on transfer values, have Dele Alli as the 9th most expensive player in Europe on £97.28 million (€110.5m - AUS$156.76m - US$117.15m).


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Highest Value Squads: 1 Barca 2 Madrid 3 Spurs


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Spurs have the highest value squad in the Premier League

The CIES (International Center for Sports Studies) has released its own ranking of the Top 10 clubs who, according to their calculations of player value, have the most expensive squads in Europe and thus the world.

Their study takes into account not only the quality of each player, but also their performance, age and contract length. Two players of equal ability have different transfer values based on the length of their contract, when a contract is running down he loses value. Tottenham have signed most of the squad to long-term contracts and thus their transfer values are at maximum. That gives us a greater asset value, which helps borrowings.

Barcelona tops the list (1.071 billion). It helps having the world's highest valued player, Neymar (246.8 million), quite apart from Messi at 175m. Real Madrid are valued second highest with a squad value of 922 million and surprisingly in third is Tottenham Hotspur with a squad value of 799 million.

Classification of CIES according to their market value (in millions of euros):

1. Barcelona - 1,071
2. Real Madrid - 922
3. Tottenham Hotspur - 799
4. Manchester United - 700
5. Atletico de Madrid - 696
6. Chelsea - 682
7. Arsenal - 660
8. Manchester City - 655
9. Liverpool - 593
10. Juventus - 567


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Wimmer was the obvious choice to replace Vertonghen


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Wimmer was the obvious choice to replace Vertonghen

Kevin Wimmer stepped in for Jan Vertonghen successfully and I seem to have been in the minority in believing he would step in for him again instead of Ben Davies.

Fans and journalists alike don't seem to look at the bigger picture. As a coach you have to. Danny Rose simply can't play every game, he needs a rest. He left the Etihad stadium on Saturday in a leg brace!

He is OK by the way, he was moving around freely on the plane to Barcelona. The point is though, we try to rotate our full-backs when there are two games a week because they get a lot of work. If Ben Davies were playing at centre-back, he would be able to cover for left-back and as we saw against Chelsea, Kevin Wimmer is no left-back.

It made much more sense to draft him in and have Ben Davies play in the FA Cup, cover for Rose and in February play in the UEFA Europa League. We get the best from both players instead of stretching our squad to perhaps breaking point.

Last season when Wimmer came in our defence he played 16 games for Vertonghen and we conceded 14 goals, 5 of those against Borussia Dortmund. He does tend to get booked too much and usually in the first half. On Saturday it was very early in the game and he was taken off at half-time.

“It’s not the first time I had this situation. I train every day and learn a lot from the other guys, from Toby and Jan especially. I always try to look at what they do and when I get my chances, I try to copy them a little bit. Of course I try to do my best but it’s not easy when you don’t play every week. You always have to be ready as a footballer — and I am. 
“It’s not a good feeling when any of our players are injured, especially if it’s a bad injury. Jan is a strong guy, his mind is strong and he is always positive. Everyone hopes he will be back soon. With Toby, too, I think the injury is not too bad but it’s never good when such important players get injured. 
“A few weeks ago when we had two days off, I went to Cologne to see friends because I’m still in touch with them. I had a very good time there but this caused a problem because I was seen there and there were some discussions. But there was never a point when I thought about leaving. I feel very comfortable here and I never thought about going back to Germany.”


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Monday, 23 January 2017

+2 to +29


Spurs are improving under Pochettino

Spurs after Week 22
2016/17 - 46 points (3rd) GF 45 GA 16 GD +29
2015/16 - 39 points (4th) GF 38 GA 18 GD +20
2014/15 - 37 points (5th) GF 32 GA 30 GD +2

Those statistics show the improvement we have made at Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff. An increase of 9 points, we have scored 13 more goals and conceded 14 less increasing our positive goal difference from 2 to 29.

We have always known we have had defensive problems, opposition managers knew it and now we have changed that we are a more formidable unit.

A rest from the league action next week and then we are reunited with Jermain Defoe, a striker many think we should buy back as cover for Harry Kane. His wages are too high though.


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Fazio - "We couldn't get by without him"


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Fazio is essential at Roma right now

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has been impressed with 29-year-old (30 in March) on-loan Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Federico Fazio which all makes his official summer signing a certainly. Indeed I believe they have already activated the clause in the loan agreement to buy him in the summer for a set fee after he played the requisite number of games.

Question - Federico Fazio has found his stride. His timing is very good; he can also start moves off. Is that added value for your Roma side?
Answer - “As a centre-back he always gets on the ball. He has time to come out and he’s good with the ball at his feet. He organises the back line. He was a holding midfielder at the start of his career. He can play nice crisp passes. He doesn’t let us down with what he offers. Right now we couldn’t get by without him.”

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Dier - "Alli will go to Madrid... On holiday"


Alli-"I-will-go-to-Madrid...-On-holiday"
Alli has no intention of leaving Spurs

Anyone who has played team sports will know how important team spirit is. To be the best team you can be you need to socialise together rather than have players turn up, play and leave. I remember as a teenager our side was comprised of one teacher, one taxi driver and us sixth formers.

We had a brilliant few years, got to a Kent Cup Final, went on a football tour, all together in a minibus each year, training every week and stayed together as a group after that and after games, also on a Saturday and many of us played together on a Saturday afternoon as well.

Cricket was no different, again the social side being important for building those key relationships within a team and the desire not to let anyone down.

It was those values at a higher level that we needed to introduce to professional sport, building a bond between the players that would make it harder for a player to leave. I got abuse for it of course but just look now at the team spirit we have.

Players do not want to leave, they have to be convinced to go, Chadli, Mason, Carroll are example.

Victor Wanyama was interviewed and he remarked upon it.

"The team spirit here is unbelievable. We kept on fighting even though we weren't playing to our level."

Kyle Walker - "Tottenham Till I Die"
Eric Dier - "Alli will go to Madrid... On holiday"

Those sentiments from Kyle walker and Dele Alli just show the spirit we have and Danny Rose has also recently said he hopes to be at the club at least until the end of his contract in 2021, then there is Harry Kane insisting he wants to remain at Spurs for years.


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Sandro Ramirez or Vincent Janssen?


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Spurs reportedly want Sandro again

You have to wonder how much talk is simply PR and how much is actually true when you hear Mauricio Pochettino talk about Vincent Janssen. There is no denying he is struggling and that he has lost his confidence in front of goal.

He is a young 22-year-old (23 in June) yes and he has only had one season of top flight football so we have to accept that he is inexperienced. We have to look at his skill set and ask if it is good enough, Holland think so, he is their main striker.

He scores goals at international level, but the Premier League is a bit different, it's faster and more physical, something not all players can handle. It requires vision and speed of thought. You are constantly under pressure to make decisions and anticipate moves.

At the moment he seems to be being too much a team build up player and not enough of the striker getting into the box. He could be seen against Aston Villa getting exasperated that when he did make runs into the box we were passing to him. He'll get another chance against Wycombe Wanderers and fingers crossed he scores from open play.

We have to keep an eye on other options though and decide at the end of the season what to do. Sandro Ramirez is a player we have watched for a few years now. We tried to buy him when he was at Barcelona and have made offers for him during the last two transfer windows.

The Spaniard has since moved to Malaga on a free transfer where sporting director Francesc Arnau has admitted in November that Sandro had a low release clause.

"A (player like) Sandro was very difficult to convince him and bringing him here would have been virtually impossible without a low (release) clause. 
“I hope he does not go in winter, no team go crazy and that we would have to let him leave here. He understands very well that here he can grow. He feels wrapped and important and we hope to remain so. 
"He's a goalscorer and is shortlisted but after market closed I hope there are no surprises, but I also hope he remains in the crosshairs of everyone in the future because that would mean he’s done a good year here. "

That release clause is thought to be £6.89 million (€8m - AUS$11.37m - US$8.59m) at the moment and goes down to £5.17 million (€6m - AUS$8.52m - US$6.44m) in the summer. He has scored 7 goals in 17 LaLiga games this season. Other places also report his release clause at £10.34 million (€12m - AUS$17.05m - US$12.88m) so why the difference.

I believe it is because Barcelona insisted on a buy-back clause in his contract, as they and Real Madrid always try to do, not something we will entertain. It seems the lower figure is if the buy-back option remains in the contract or the higher figure if it isn't, at least that is how I have pieced the information from Spain together.


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