The Big Match

Spurs seal 1st deal ahead of Chelsea clash

Davinson Sanchez competing for Ajax during May's Europa League final. He has displaced £30 million signings Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko as the most expensive player in Spurs' history.
Davinson Sanchez competing for Ajax during May's Europa League final. He has displaced £30 million signings Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko as the most expensive player in Spurs' history.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Pochettino wants three more signings this window; Blues squad set for another test

LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur are eyeing four new signings in the transfer window but need time to recruit the right players to help the club progress, manager Mauricio Pochettino said ahead of today's Premier League clash with Chelsea.

Spurs got their first new boy - Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez - on Friday after paying a reported club-record £42 million (S$73.72 million) to Dutch side Ajax.

The 21-year-old, who was a pivotal member of the side that reached the Europa League final last term only to lose to Manchester United, signed a six-year contract.

"It is a great move for me to come here to develop my career," he told Spurs' official website.

Pochettino remains hopeful that Sanchez's arrival will pave the way for more signings before the transfer window closes on Aug 31.

"We expect to sign some players before the end of the transfer window, and try to improve our squad and bring new faces and energy in the team because it will be a long season," the Argentinian said in his pre-match conference.

"The most important thing is to try to be right in the players we sign and that the players can help us and be important for the present and the future of the club."

Tottenham have been linked with Everton's unsettled England forward Ross Barkley and Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop, although there is not much progress on both fronts.

HOMING IN ON THE ISSUE

Wembley is not a problem. We are the problem if we are not able to win like last season.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO , Tottenham manager, on who to blame if Spurs continue to struggle at Wembley.

Pochettino's team will play their home games at Wembley this season while their stadium at their White Hart Lane site in north London is under construction.

Their record at England's national stadium last season was underwhelming, as they lost two and drew one of their four European fixtures. Much has been made of whether the team can adapt to their new surroundings, but Pochettino is enthusiastic about the prospect.

"I played in the old Wembley for Argentina in 2000 and it was a massive dream for me," he said.

"One of our challenges is to make Wembley our home. We need to show we are ready.

"Wembley is not a problem. We are the problem if we are not able to win like last season. We were poor when we played there last season."

He also believes that playing against the Premier League champions today will make his team more determined.

"Chelsea have a very good squad," he said. "It will be a really tough game, a big challenge."

Yet Chelsea's shock home loss against Burnley last weekend exposed the problems with Antonio Conte's threadbare squad.

And the Blues manager has admitted it could be years before his troubled team are capable of dominating at home and abroad.

"Last season we started to build this foundation and we won the title, but we were fortunate with injuries," the Italian said. "Now it is not enough. To be the best in the world, you need time. There are many situations you can't control.

"We have to improve. Maybe we need four years to try to fight for the Champions League."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 20, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs seal 1st deal ahead of Chelsea clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe