The club has pretty much been in a holding pattern since the FA Cup semi-final defeat to United. Mauricio Pochettino’s comments after the game prompted all sorts of speculation about the Argentine’s future.
That consequently had a knock-on effect not only in delaying the club’s transfer plans (albeit briefly) but also in many of the senior players committing their long-term futures to the club.
The wage structure that remains in place apparently meant that few were willing to sign on the dotted line until Poch’s future was sorted. Why commit to lower wages if you are not sure that the club will be in safe hands on the pitch?
With all those doubts swept aside, it seems six players will be secured to new long-term deals. It’s a domino effect, and the manager will likely try to use this momentum in order to make improvements to the squad.
You only have to look at the comments the manager made after the Leicester win on the final day that he was seeking assurances on transfer funds. The new five-year contract he’s been given must have come with some guarantees on this front as well.
Poch is reportedly determined to get the transfers done must earlier than previous summers. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that considering Levy’s negotiating strategy likely hasn’t changed, but the boss has to push the chairman into getting the deals over the line.
Three names are being touted as primary targets. Both the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph have named Anthony Martial, Matthijs De Ligt and Wilfried Zaha as the three main priorities, while talk of Ryan Sessegnon continues.
It’s consistent with the SkySports.com report earlier this week that our priorities are a forward, a left back and centre back, while the search for another central midfielder has seemingly not settled on one player as of yet. That’s likely because Mousa Dembele’s future is still up in the air.
Everything barring the Belgian and his compatriot Toby Alderweireld’s future have been positive. If the first four years of Poch’s regime can be seen as the first stage where we build a team to challenge, we are now entering the second stage which we all hope will see this side win the trophies it deserves.