Tottenham Hotspur have been consistently punching above their weight for some time now. Nobody laughed last season when they came close to giving Chelsea a run for their money like in 2015, when they were roundly laughed off for having ‘Spursed it’, a phrase that has come into common parlance highlighting Tottenham’s tendency of choking at crucial moments, in surrendering the title to Leicester.
For lengthy periods last campaign, Spurs were the best side in England outplaying all and sundry with their eye-catchy high pressing football at blistering speed.
The Lilywhites haven’t been overly busy in the transfer market so far, fully aware that holding on to star players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli would translate into a successful transfer market for them than splashing the cash on an array of players. Pochettino is looking to plug minor holes in his team, enabling them to sustain a challenge in a lengthy season that would see them compete on all four fronts including Champions League and the Domestic cups.
Spurs look set to release £20m rated Kevin Wimmer, with the likes of Southampton interested in the 24-year-old Austrian defender. The player has also alerted a spate of German clubs. Pochettino wants to replace him with Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson and Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson in order to increase competition for his first choice defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
The duo impressed despite their respective clubs’ struggles in the Premier League with Middlesbrough relegated to the Championship and Swansea finishing a lowly 15th.
Alfie Mawson, the England under-21 captain, spoke of his desire to go on to captain the senior England side on the eve of the game against Germany, which they lost on penalties. “One day I would like to be club captain and, if that meant going on to the national level, it’d be a dream. For now, I take everything in my stride. Ask me a year ago if I’d be taking part in the semi-final of a major competition and I would never have imagined it”, said the player.
A natural leader at his age who is known to be the most vocal player in the under-21 Three Lions side, the player self-admittedly says that is how he has always been and would look to serve as an example to young players coming through.
At 21 years, he is mature for his age and takes on more responsibility than would be expected of him. It is not hard to see why the Spurs boss is keen on signing the £25m rated player.
Although the deal makes a lot of sense for Spurs, Mawson can not look forward to regular game-time at Wembley Stadium this season, with the White Hart Lane under renovation.
With Spurs set to compete on all fronts, Pochettino is expected to rotate his squad to an extent. Mawson could end up gaining valuable experience playing alongside marquee players who are bound to be a notch above his current Swansea teammates.
Managed carefully, Mawson could prove to be a star in the making.