It’s always a dark day the morning after you lose a match, and as Tottenham Hotspur fans, most of us are clearly less receptive to grasping at “positivity straws,” especially regarding the January transfer window. But if you’d like a glimmer of hope as your lodestone for the next few days, Mauricio Pochettino might have just given it to you.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup match against Crystal Palace, Pochettino again noted the injury crisis and again said that he was “more than open” to new signings this window... assuming one can be found that will actually improve the team.
“I think we are going to explain the same, even after 100 times. I always say that I am more than open to improve and to add players to the squad. That is so clear. You can find on the on the internet, from all of of my press conferences, I always say the same thing. I am more than open. A different thing is if we can find the right player who is going to help us to improve the team, the squad. But I never was closed, always open.
“[There are] still six days. We are working. [There are] a few options. We’ll see if we are capable of delivering, but in the same way of course we have the squad. Now we have maybe one space because Mousa Dembele has gone. But we need to be careful because for the Champions League I think we are not going to....if it’s a player that is not an English player we don’t have the space, because it was Juan Foyth and that is so important to be careful about the decision. But we are always hoping to try to add quality and try to improve the squad.”
So, there’s a bit to unpack here. Yes, he’s using the same language that he always does when talking about transfers — he’s very open, always looking to improve the squad, it’s very difficult, etc. But there are some tidbits of interesting info in here.
First, there’s the notion that Spurs need to offload players before they can onboard anyone new. That’s been implied, but I’m not sure Poch has ever said it outright (though I’m sure I’ll be corrected in the comments if that’s not the case). Mousa Dembele’s departure leaves a spot open for a new player to come in, if one can be found.
Second, it seems like if there’s a player that comes in he’s likely going to be English, because of the Champions League regulations about foreign players in the squad. That would suggest someone like Hull City’s Jarrod Bowen, whom Spurs have been linked to all month, or another young English talent that Poch can develop into a first team player.
Pochettino did emphasize that, whatever moves are made in the last days of this window, they will not be made out of panic or due to current squad injuries.
“One thing is to try to improve our team, our squad, to add more quality, the right profile that can be present and future for the club. Another thing is if you have some problems with a player that is injured, that is to replace them. That is two different things. We are going to sign if we identify the player who can improve us. We are not going to sign a player as a necessity because of injury. We have enough players to cover injuries. That’s two different things.
“The problem is, like all business, different opinions. Of course if you win ok, but if you don’t win maybe you need to take different ways to operate. But I think it’s so clear our strategy and how we are going to operate now and in the future.”
None of these comments indicate certainty that Spurs will add to their roster in January. We’re all too numb to that kind of talk to fully believe it. But there does seem to be a bigger sense of... well, urgency is the right word, but an increased openness to improvement. Maybe that happens in January, maybe it doesn’t. Poch’s comments, especially the hints about English players, do shape the conversation more than in the past, and that’s interesting in its own way.