Tottenham Hotspur have had a good season in 2015-16. Remarkably good, even. Central to their performance has been the emergence of a core of young, incredibly talented players that has adapted and thrived under Mauricio Pochettino's system of pressing, fitness, and attacking football.
But this is still Spurs that we're talking about here, and you don't have to look too far into Tottenham's past to see a concerning pattern of the club selling off its best players to bigger clubs for large amounts of money. The sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid was the most recent – and most lucrative – example of this, but that was more about Bale desiring to leave than it was about Levy wanting to sell. Still, it's concerning to Spurs supporters who have been burned watching their favorite players depart their favorite club time and again in the past 20 years.
Pochettino has been adamant that he has no intentions of selling his best players this summer, despite the club breaking ground on a state-of-the-art and extremely expensive new stadium that will likely require the club to adhere to strict financial management. Now, Matt Law in the Telegraph has seemed to corroborate those reports, saying that other clubs will find it extremely difficult to poach any of Tottenham's stars when the transfer window opens this summer.
Pochettino’s priority is to keep his squad of players together and a White Hart Lane source has told Telegraph Sport that Levy ‘would not even sell Dele Alli for £100 million’ at the end of this season.
– Source: Matt Law, The Telegraph
Pochettino and the club seem to recognize that this is a Tottenham team that is missing only a few pieces from being a team able to be competitive in the Champions League and compete both for Premier League titles. There's been lots of stories coming out in recent days and weeks about current Spurs players extending their contracts, with Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen rumored to be close to new deals at White Hart Lane.
The "Dele Alli for £100m" statement is quite likely hyperbole; it would be foolish not to look at all options, and a big bid very well could come in from the richest clubs in Europe for some of Spurs' stars this summer. Spurs have built their core around undervalued and inexpensive players who have dramatically increased their value during their time at the club. Should they want to (and it appears they they don't), Spurs could make a very tidy profit on the likes of Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris, and Harry Kane.
That said, the line coming out of the club feels different this time around. While Daniel Levy has said in the past that he has no intention of selling Harry Kane and his other best players, Champions League qualification and a top two or three finish in the table sends a statement of intent to the rest of Europe. Pochettino himself recognizes that something in the club's overall demeanor has changed in the past year
“I think we have very clever people at the top. Our chairman is very clever with how he manages and builds that. I think it is normal that if you achieve, you want more. But the players want to stay here and bring this club to the new stadium and play in the Champions League. It is a collective objective.”
Tottenham's elite stars are no longer staring wistfully at Manchester, Madrid, or Paris. The message now is that Spurs won't sell their best players not just because they don't want to sell, but because their players no longer want to go. That speaks volumes.