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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Summer 2017 - Player sales



I bumped into a forum discussion on retaining players this summer and the exact comments you expected to see were there.

First, there was Pochettino responding to a newspaper reporters question and then they all had their angle for stories about Dele Alli and Manchester City or Kyle Walker and Bayern Munich. Reporters ask specific questions to get specific answers, answers they know they can turn into a story. That is their job after all. It is no different than a poll, you can get whatever answer you want out of a poll, you just word the question to get the answer or answers you want.

"The players that we want to keep, we will keep. I think because we are doing good things, the clubs with a lot of potential are focused on our players, on our talented players. 
"But the good thing is we have the plan to try to improve and we will deliver it when we finish the season. For our fans, it is so clear that all the decisions we take are for the reason to try to improve the team, to try to be more competitive next season."

An answer that was clear. Nothing in life can be guaranteed so to ask a question whether you can guarantee an event taking place elicits the answer you want, Pochettino can't give that guarantee. Dele Alli, for instance, might have a career ending injury in the next game.

On Twitter there is a guy asking why it is our players being linked with moves away, why isn't it happening with Liverpool, Man City etc.Costa is linked to China, Hazard to Real Madrid, Coutinho to Barcelona, Ozil and Sanchez with moves away, Aguero was linked with us, Kompany with a move away.

The answer is they do have the same issue, but as a Spurs fan you generally don't take any notice of it and don't read the number of articles on it that you read about Spurs, thus you feel it is solely a Spurs problem, it isn't.

If your players are being linked away then it means we are doing something right, it means they are quality players, assuming the clubs are the quality of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Are we not linked with other teams players? It is exactly the same. If you are going to moan about our players being linked elsewhere then you should be moaning that we are being linked with other teams players.

Immediately the negativity comes a calling fior some though. The unsuccessful live on negativity. Immediately the last 10 years are brought up as if it were the present and the Modric, Berbatov, Bale and Carrick transfers are thrown into the mix. Those transfers though have no bearing on the Spurs of now, we are a different club today. We have moved on, progressed.

We are not 5th or 6th, hoping for a UEFA Champions League place expecting a UEFA Europa League place. We have built a title challenging team and are going to qualify for the UEFA Champions League again barring a major catastrophe.

Players no longer need to take a step up, currently Manchester United and Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal are a step down in footballing terms. All they can offer is higher wages and less chance of playing.

While a player chooses where he plays, there is less reason for a player to move from Spurs now than there was just three years ago, now players want to stay. Hugo Lloris is a prime example, he is here because Mauricio Pochettino is here and he isn't going anywhere while he is, yet there is still speculation surrounding his future from journalists.

Some cite their distrust of Daniel Levy, yet all he has ever done is try to build the club. Those who don't know how to build something don't realise that sometimes you have to sell an asset to grow a club. Levy has proved himself time and time again but it is individuals own limiting beliefs, beliefs that prevent success, that are the problem, not anything Levy is doing. The guy has built us up to where we are now and the club is growing. I'll repeat what Sir Alex Ferguson said, to have a successful football tam you have to have a successful business. The two are linked, the business pays for the football, not the other way around.

Others with their defeatist outlook expect a big name player to be sold. That just lacks faith and an understanding of how the football climate at Tottenham has changed. It's the mindset of failure.

You might get a one-off success but it is sustained success we are after, it is taking the club to the level of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United off the pitch as well as on it that we are after, that is our plan, that is what we are working towards. It will take an NFL franchise before we see it, that's the future.

Building something for the immediate and then fire fighting to retain is is not a sustainable business model, you would be straining the club financially which puts everything at risk. Wages are the biggest factor, not transfer fees, which are only instalment plans anyway. Can you afford to pay the wages year after year from your income, that determins who you can buy.

Spend too much on wages and you risk destroying the club. Leeds went belly up because they didn't qualify for the UEFA Champions League after being semi-finalists but still had to pay Champions League wages and couldn't afford it without the income. Players had to be sold and the house came tumbling down. It can't happen to us, where are the 7th richest club in the country, Newcastle United?

Levy doesn't just sell players because he feels like it as some seem to have the impression or because someone offers a lot of money, it beggars belief that people are that dumb. The manager is ALWAYS consulted and a club decision is reached that fits in with our growth strategy and takes into account the wishes of the player. We have created an environment of harmony, an environment where w develop success, if we want to keeop a player and he isn'r upsetting that environment then he won't be sold, it's that simple.

Both Modric and Bale stayed for an extra year despite being determined to leave. That was Levy negotiating, hoping their presence an extra season would help us achieve and give him a bargaining tool to persuade them to stay even longer. It wasn't to be so then you have to extract the most possible money to help the coach rebuild. He did that. Our poor scouting and lack of mental assessment produced flops by and large, people only here for the money.

Pochettino will have a list in order of preference, those preferences will have to be bought within our wage structure and fit with our overall strategy. They must buy into what we are doing. The time when all the right criteria comes about changes. The length of contract has a major effect on a transfer fee, as a contract runs down so does the fee. We want the right player, at the right time, on the right wages, for the right fee. If not you move on.

Is a club willing to sell, or being forced into selling due to a year remaining on a players contract? Does the player want to move, does he want to move to you, why does he want to move to you, guaranteed football, wages, signing on fee, off the field help, the list goes on of criteria to be ticked.

Players have to be sold to provide capital for purchases. We sell fringe players and are very good at getting premium fee for them, Livermore, Carroll, Mason, Chadli, Pritchard etc. Players are bought on instalment plans, so we already have transfer fees to pay in the summer and next summer and so on. Equally, we receive payments in the same way. That has to all be budgeted for in annual expenditure.

Sissoko is different, instead of being instalment payments, he was a one-off fee plus an additional payment for each year we keep him up to 5 years. If we don't keep him we don't have to pay it, whereas normally we would agree on a fee over a set number of years and are then legally bound to pay it, just as you have to pay back a loan, whether we sell that player or not.

Fans live in a simplistic world and see things in a simplistic way, not every fan obviously, journalists report in the same way. You can be sure they will report a heavy loss on Sissoko, but that won't actually be the case at all. The fan on the street will see it as a huge loss, again, wrong.

Some fans are still in the past, they hang on to their negative beliefs, subconsciously wanting Spurs to fail so they can say I told you so, they don't change with the times, they seem incapable of seeing the football world for what is is today, not what it was yesterday.

The discussion on who we might sell simply highlights those who haven't caught up with the modern football environment yet.

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