Going into last season Fernando Llorente was seen by both Spurs fans and the wider footballing community as a prime example of Spurs’ shallow squad.
The former Swansea man who ,according to The Evening Standard, is expected to be released by Spurs in the next couple of weeks, was always going to play second fiddle to Harry Kane, so for the most part it wasn’t an issue.
But if called upon the Spaniard’s one goal in 16 Premier League appearances in the 2017/18 season left few trusting him as a reliable back-up striker.
Nevertheless, Pochettino stuck with the now 34-year-old – more out of necessity than anything else as he was not given a penny to spend on an alternative.
And most Spurs fans would say Llorente has repaid the club’s faith in him after he scored the goal to take them through to the semi-finals of the Champions League and then had a major part to play in their comeback against Ajax.
His goalscoring did not improve – one Premier League goal in 20 appearances last season – but his contribution to the team did.
Llorente is perhaps the best example of how Pochettino has managed to galvanise players with relatively average records and turn them into invaluable parts of a wider project.
12 months ago Llorente was seen as no more than a second string Carabao Cup striker, and he became the man who changed the complexion of a Champions League semi-final.
So, what Pochettino should now try to do is add to the buzz of last season’s team, rather than lead a complete squad overhaul which dismantles all the previous work he has done.
Players like Llorente, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have been integral to the success of Pochettino’s side and getting rid of them will only harm some of the club’s biggest strengths – their spirit, unity and togetherness.
In the build, up to that final with Liverpool there was a lot of Spurs fans suggesting there is no place for sentimentality when Pochettino was deciding whether to play Harry Kane or not.
But Pochettino’s ability to tap into that sentimentality and form a tight-knit dressing room, has enabled him to achieve over and above with his players.
Llorente’s vital moments last season should not be left as merely his goodbye gift to Tottenham fans.
Pochettino needs to tap into that success and can only achieve that by keeping those who played a major role – he should start with Llorente.