Tottenham have signed the centre-back Davinson Snchez for a club record 42m from Ajax and will also sign Serge Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain for 23m if they overcome red tape
Mauricio Pochettino says Davinson Snchez has the talent and strength of character to develop into one of the best centre-backs in the world. The Tottenham Hotspur manager took the 21-year-old Colombian from Ajax for a club record 42m this week and he was relieved that a more financially powerful club had not tried to hijack the deal.
Pochettino described Snchez as the perfect fit for his style at Tottenham, which involves a high defensive line something he got used to during his single season at Ajax under Peter Bosz. Snchez has the pace to be confident about leaving spaces in behind him. But it is his mentality that helped to convince Pochettino to make the transfer.
Pochettino knows what it is like to move from South America to Europe as a young player; he was a 22-year-old central defender when he went from Newells Old Boys in his native Argentina to Espanyol in 1994 and, initially, he found it difficult. Back then the three foreign player rule was in force and Pochettino was routinely a victim of it.
We had five foreigners there was me as a centre-back, one midfielder and three strikers, Pochettino said. I started every single game but at the moment we conceded a goal, I was out the first change and we put another foreign player in. I was so, so upset and I said to the gaffer it was [Jos Antonio] Camacho Come on. What is the problem? Every time we concede, bang, Im out of the pitch. It was so frustrating for me. But I showed my character by going to him and [after that], he was in love with me. He said: Ah, you challenge me? OK. After that, he tried to keep me on the pitch.
Snchez did not endure that issue at Ajax but he made light of the other cultural challenges on and off the pitch after joining from Atltico Nacional in 2016. That is what caught our attention with him, Pochettino said. From the beginning at Ajax, he showed his quality and personality. He was the best player at Ajax in his first season.
You have to adapt yourself. I moved from Argentina with my wife. We were not scared but you are waiting because you dont know what you will find in Europe. But him, hes unbelievable. He speaks English very well and he is very comfortable with his new team-mates. He has all the characteristics for success here.
Pochettino referenced Snchezs pedigree. At such a young age, he has already won the Copa Libertadores with Nacional, starting in both legs of the final against Independiente del Valle in 2016 while he reached the Europa League final with Ajax last season, in which they lost to Manchester United.
He has an amazing history and background, Pochettino said. He is so aggressive, so fast and he loves to play with risk at his back. Its a massive opportunity because we believe he will be one of the best centre-backs in the world. Pochettino said, with a smile, that he had already given Snchez a welcome of sorts during his first training session on Thursday. The manager loves to get involved in the small-sided games and possession drills known as boxes. We were playing in a box, he was inside and the ball was up in the air Bam! Pochettino said, motioning at how he had led with his shoulder in the challenge. He fell and I had the ball.
Snchez is waiting for the paperwork on his work permit to be formalised. It is unclear whether he will feature against Burnley at Wembley on Sunday. Pochettino is keen to further shake up his defensive options with moves for the Paris St-Germain right-back Serge Aurier, and the Estudiantes centre-half Juan Foyth.
Aurier will sign for 25m (23m) if he can resolve the issues that relate to his convertible two-month prison sentence.The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international has appealed against the punishment which was suspended and given to him last year, after he allegedly assaulted a police officer outside a nightclub in Paris. Convertible sentences mean the offender is more likely to do community service and pay a heavier fine.
Tottenham have agreed terms on the move for Aurier with both him and PSG. The final obstacle involves the Home Office giving Aurier the necessary clearance to enter the United Kingdom. The defender missed a Champions League game at Arsenal last season because he was not allowed into the country.
Ross Barkley continues to be a target and the summer-long game of brinkmanship over the Everton midfielder, who is also wanted by Chelsea, could go down to deadline day. Tottenham do not want to break their weekly wage structure of 100,000 for him and they are conscious he is out for three months with a hamstring tear. That said, Pochettino is very keen to sign Barkley.
Pochettino will loan the 19-year-old centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers to Sheffield United in the Championship while he is open to offers for another central defender, Kevin Wimmer, who is wanted by Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion.
Tottenham do not want to break their weekly wage structure of 100,000 for him, while they are conscious he is out for three months with a hamstring tear. That said, Pochettino is very keen to sign Barkley.
Pochettino will loan the 19-year-old centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers to Sheffield United in the Championship and he is open to offers for another central defender, Kevin Wimmer, who is wanted by Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion.
Snchez is waiting for the paperwork on his work permit to be processed. It is unclear whether he will play against Burnley at Wembley tomorrow.