Mauricio Pochettino believes the “massive mistake” of closing the Premier League window early has left Tottenham Hotspur especially vulnerable among the established top six clubs.
Tottenham’s manager believes his chairman, Daniel Levy, and executives at other top-flight clubs now realise the error of their ways.
Premier League clubs voted to close the window before the start of the season for a second successive year but, with European windows open until September 2, overseas rivals could still swoop for players they will then be unable to replace.
Pochettino fears he could lose any of Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, all of whom have entered the final year of their contracts, during the next fortnight and be left with a weaker and unsettled squad.
Whereas the likes of Manchester City – whom Tottenham held to a 2-2 draw on Saturday – and Manchester United have the financial clout to rebuff the advances of Europe’s richest, Spurs have traditionally been a selling club and Pochettino worries he is now in a compromising position.
“I wasn’t in agreement [with the early transfer window closure] but at that moment they believed that was best for the clubs,” he said.
“I think he [Levy] and a lot of people now realise it was a massive mistake. I hope we fix the problem for next season.
“I think we need to operate the same way they operate in Europe because I think it’s massive when you go to compete in the Europa League or Champions League. Champions League teams can create problems in a team like us and it’s so clear that I cannot be happy as a coach that, in the last three or four weeks, certain clubs can unsettle your team.
“It’s not common sense and we need to hope they have a good conversation at the Premier League and go back quickly [to how it was].”
Spurs rode their luck against City to leave the Etihad Stadium with a point but Pochettino said he could not be concerned that the champions had been able to manage 30 shots to Tottenham’s three, given the gulf in budgets.
The Argentine said he and his staff had become “world champions” at adapting to a changing squad in his five years at Spurs and cited Kyle Walker’s £54m move to City in 2017 as evidence of the struggles he faces.
“When Kyle Walker was at Tottenham and we sold him to City, Kyle Walker-Peters [Tottenham’s right-back on Saturday] was a kid,” Pochettino said. “Now we’ve sold Kieran Trippier [to Atletico Madrid] and Kyle Walker-Peters is playing. Maybe he was the fourth, fifth option when Kyle Walker was here so it’s important people realise we’re building players and that they’re still young.
“It’s a process that is completely different when you compare it to Manchester City, to Manchester United or Arsenal, Chelsea.”
Pochettino added: “I’m not complaining, I try to describe the truth and some people struggle to understand what the project is at Tottenham. We’re in a process where every season is: rebuild the team. I am so happy because that makes us stronger and [we have to] be creative. But it’s tough.
“I’m not worried [City had 30 shots]. When you face a team like City you are exposed. We know very well our level was difficult to fight face-to-face with a team that in the last three seasons is building to win and are so clinical in the way that they operate and sign players.” (©Daily Telegraph, London)
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