Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham should be judged differently to other top Premier League clubs because of reduced spending power in the face of a reported £600million stadium debt.
Tottenham borrowed vast sums to finance the construction of their new 62,000-seater home venue, which opened well behind schedule in April.
Three months later, a long transfer standstill ended with the signing of teenage winger Jack Clarke from Leeds United and Spurs negotiated further deals for Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon as their close-season spending reportedly totalled around £100m.
North London rivals Arsenal are believed to have splashed around three quarters of that figure on a single player – club-record signing Nicolas Pepe – and Pochettino highlighted the difference in attitudes ahead of Sunday’s derby at Emirates Stadium.
“Arsenal, in the last two years, signed [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, the best striker in Germany, [Alexandre] Lacazette, the best striker in France and, one year after, Pepe,” Pochettino said.
“If you see us in five years, we didn’t sign one [expensive] striker and now our main striker is Harry Kane but our second specific striker is 17 years old, Troy Parrott.
“That is the difference in the projects. I don’t want to say one is wrong and another is good. It’s only that the way we operate is completely different and, afterwards, we need to compete.
“Mercedes compete with Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull [in Formula One]. After, we compete in the same race and, if you judge, the judgments need not only to be on the race but the whole process.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 31, 2019
Tottenham reached last season’s Champions League final despite making no new additions in the previous two transfer windows but lost 2-0 to Premier League runners-up Liverpool.
Pochettino raised the Anfield club’s squad transformation under Jurgen Klopp as one of a number of examples of how competitors are conducting their business in contrasting fashion.
“Different clubs ask the bank for £600m to invest in the team, like Barcelona or different clubs,” he said.
“They create a debt by signing players, putting the debt on the pitch, trying to win.
“We are different. We need to create a legacy for the future. In this period we are suffering the restrictions but it’s normal.
“We need to work hard to find a way to compete in this very tough league – in a different way to our rivals.”
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