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A tough day awaits for Pochettino. A tough summer awaits for Koeman

24 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
A tough day awaits for Pochettino. A tough summer awaits for Koeman

A tough day awaits for Pochettino. A tough summer awaits for Koeman

HE’LL be steeling himself for a tough day at the office on Saturday.

And, judging by the abuse he received at Tottenham in October, Southampton’s fans will oblige Mauricio Pochettino for sure at St Mary’s.

They have never forgiven him for stringing them along last season when – in their opinion – he clearly knew that he was gearing up to defect to North London.

They battered him with taunts of “Where’s your translator gone?”, “Who the f*** is ­Pochettino?” and “W*****!” when he stepped into his ­technical area for the first time. 

And worst of all, they ended up on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline as Christian Eriksen struck the winner.

So Pochettino is well aware that he will have to put his shoulders back and weather the storm as he returns to the South Coast this weekend.

It is ludicrous of course that it should be that way. Were it not for Pochettino Southampton would be back in the Championship.

The indications right now are that the Saints should be bracing themselves for another close season of upheaval with Nathaniel Clyne unwilling to sign a new deal and suggestions that Manchester United are preparing to take him.

Morgan Schneiderlin has already put his cards on the table in terms of wanting to quit St Mary’s for a club in the Champions League. Spurs, Arsenal and even Chelsea are having a long look at him. 

Defender Toby Alderweireld is coming to the end of his loan spell from Atletico Madrid. Southampton want to keep him but Spurs are trying to pinch him while a number of clubs are keen on another of the club’s midfielders, Victor Wanyama.

Lazio like Graziano Pelle, who has gone right off the boil during this second half of the season. Eljero Elia is set to go back to Werder Bremen because the £10million that the Germans want for him is considered too much by the Saints.

And of course Manchester City and Spurs both like striker Jay Rodriguez, who has been out injured for most of this season.

Koeman did superbly to cope with the exodus last summer after Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Callum Chambers followed Pochettino out of the club. He has another big challenge this time around.

Spurs, meanwhile, blew it two weeks ago when they had the chance to really put pressure on Manchester City. 

They failed to turn up in a home game they should have won against Aston Villa. And it is a measure of their inconsistency that they managed to go to Newcastle last Sunday and win (although to be fair everybody goes to Newcastle and wins these days).

Either way, Pochettino has finally admitted what everybody already knows – he is going to rip it up this summer and do it his way.

We all know who will go: Younes Kaboul and Vlad Chiriches in defence, maybe even Jan Vertonghen if Spurs get an offer big enough.

In midfield Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue and, again, maybe even Erik Lamela if the offer is big enough.

And chairman Daniel Levy is likely to drive Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor personally to any club that wants them this summer.

We already know that Pochettino wants Alderweireld and the Cologne defender Kevin Wimmer. Football League player of the Year Delli Alli cannot wait to get started at White Hart Lane next season. 

And Spurs have looked at both 20-year-old Levante midfielder Victor Camarasa and 25-year-old Aston Villa midfielder Tom Cleverley, who is a free transfer in the summer.

One name not currently in the plans at Spurs is Christian Benteke, despite his rejuvenation under Tim Sherwood at Villa Park over the last seven games. 

During that time Benteke has scored nine times including a hat-trick against QPR, the decisive strike at Spurs and one of the two goals to help Villa into the FA Cup Final at Liverpool’s expense last week.

But Spurs are not in the hunt for him as things stand.

They were last summer according to sources at the club, but this time around they are looking elsewhere. Particularly as they expect Villa to be asking for silly money.

After their disastrous gambles with Soldado and Adebayor, however, isn’t Benteke exactly the kind of proven Premier League performer they need? 

Yes, he would cost a bit more than the £10m-£15m price range that Levy has now insisted he is looking at after the transfer failures under Andre Villas Boas and Franco Baldini. 

But without more quality up front, can Spurs really expect to climb any higher than they are now?

Benteke isn’t a gamble. He is a monster if he is handled in the way that Tim Sherwood has done since his arrival at Villa Park.

He is unplayable if he is motivated in the way that Sherwood has motivated him.

He would give Harry Kane serious competition and could even form a powerful strike force alongside the England marksman.

If Spurs really are serious about improving their firepower – and the big four do not get involved – they must surely be looking at Benteke this summer.

While the Southampton fans are giving him stick on Saturday, Pochettino might want to reflect on just how strong his front line would be with the big Belgian within his ranks.