Mauricio Pochettino on transfer strategy that separates Liverpool from Tottenham & Co.

30 June 2019

Mauricio Pochettino has highlighted how Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are “free to decide which players they want,” and it shows a stark contrast with Spurs.


Speaking to The Midnight Club in Spain, the Tottenham manager discussed his plans for the summer transfer window, stressing it is “mandatory” signings are made.

But Pochettino also addressed the role chairman Daniel Levy has in rubber-stamping arrivals and departures, saying the decision is “not in his hands” unlike his counterparts at Liverpool and Man City.

“At Manchester City and Liverpool, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are free to decide which players they want and do not want,” he said.

“On the other hand, at other teams such as Tottenham, Chelsea or Arsenal it is not in the hands of the manager. Who decides, in our case, is the president.”

MADRID, SPAIN - Friday, May 31, 2019: Tottenham Hotspur's manager Mauricio Pochettino during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Spurs are expected to make their first additions in a year-and-a-half with Jack Clarke and Tanguy Ndombele among their targets, after Pochettino was left to stick with the same squad for 2018/19.

Their last signing was Lucas Moura at the beginning of 2018, and since then Liverpool have brought in Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

But while Pochettino’s assessment of the structure of the different clubs at the top end of the Premier League is accurate, to suggest Klopp has final say over all transfers is too vague.

Perhaps unlike Spurs, where signings may be recommended by the manager but effectively ordained by the boardroom, the Reds operate with a collegiate approach.

Klopp is joined by the likes of sporting director Michael Edwards, head of recruitment David Fallows, chief scout Barry Hunter, FSG president Mike Gordon and an analytics team fronted by director of research Ian Graham.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 23, 2017: Liverpool's Director of Football Michael Edwards during the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 2nd Leg match between Liverpool and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Much like Pochettino, Klopp certainly has an influence in identifying targets, but he can in turn be persuaded by those around him.

A clear example of this came with the pursuit of Julian Brandt in 2017, with the manager eventually turned onto Mohamed Salah instead of his countryman.

Seventy-one goals and 29 assists in 104 games later, this is a decision which has clearly paid dividends.

The thorough scouting and analysis of potential signings has allowed Liverpool—and, clearly, Man City—to steal march on their Premier League rivals.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 12, 2019: Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Solskjaer) before the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Manchester United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It would appear that other clubs are far behind them, with another not mentioned by Pochettino, Man United, advertising for a new recruitment analyst and first-team scouts in Spain and France this summer.

The job description for the latter is “to identify world-class and emerging talent for the club, ensuring a talent pipeline and a world-class first-team squad.”

Whether this suggests United were largely signing players based off the recommendation of agents is unclear, but it would be remarkable if that is the case.

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson lifts the European Cup following a 2-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Liverpool themselves are set to oversee a quiet summer, with Klopp and those around him at the club happy with the shape of the squad after a period of significant investment.

Sepp van den Berg has been brought in from PEC Zwolle for an initial £1.3 million, with the Dutchman set to supplement the first team.

But unlike Spurs, Arsenal, United and the hamstrung Chelsea, for once there is no need for a major influx at Anfield.

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