Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: The players we want to keep, we will keep

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has assured him the club does not have to raise money this summer and will only offload players they want to sell.

Spurs are expected to field enquiries for a number of their young talents after another season in which they have emerged as genuine contenders for the Premier League title.

In the past, Tottenham have bowed to pressure from Europe's elite clubs, with Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick all sold for sizeable fees.

Pochettino, however, insists he has Levy's word that Spurs will only accept offers for players they are happy to let depart White Hart Lane.

"I think because we are doing good things, the clubs with a lot of potential are focused on our players, on our talented players," the Argentinian said.

"But it is important, I told you, because my relationship with Daniel Levy is so close so far - you know the relationship between chairman and manager can change in a moment!

"But the good thing is we have the plan to try to improve and we will deliver it when we finish the season.

"The players that we want to keep, we will keep, because he said to me 'we don't need money'. If we sell some players it is because we want to sell some players.

"We will sell players because of the players we want to sign. For our fans, it is so clear that all the decisions we take are for the reason to try to improve the team, to try to be more competitive next season."

Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Dele Alli are all reportedly attracting interest, with Alli perhaps Tottenham's most valuable asset.

Former Spain midfielder Xavi has said the 21-year-old is the kind of talent his previous manager at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, would be keen to sign for Manchester City, but Pochettino brushed off his assessment.

"Xavi is in a period when he loves to talk. He's in Doha (playing for Qatari club Al Sadd) and he was a Barcelona player - he's my enemy," the former Espanyol coach said with a smile.

"He tries to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he's a Barcelona player and fan. I know Xavi very well. I played against him a lot and when I was a manager."

Pochettino continued: "I don't know what Xavi said - is he working for Manchester City now? He wants to help Guardiola."

Spurs face Crystal Palace on Wednesday as the club continue to come to terms with the death of under-23s coach Ugo Ehiogu on Friday.

Pochettino said some players and staff have taken counselling sessions. It is understood the players involved are predominantly from the youth teams.

"The doctors and people that were involved have been in individual and different groups," Pochettino said.

"It is such a special thing as all the different players had different relationships with him. Sometimes that is so private and so individual, the feeling.

"It was tough for all the staff. I think we are very lucky to have the staff we have.

"It is not a good thing that happened, but it allows us to recognise the values and how they work and how they care for us every day on the training ground."

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