Tottenham enjoyed their best ever Premier League finish last season and Pochettino would be looking to get his squad ready for a title challenge next season.
The Londoners have been going about their business in the transfer window steadily and have added AZ Alkmaar striker Vincent Janssen to the squad, who enjoyed a breakout season in the Eredivisie and has had a similar career growth path as Tottenham sensation Harry Kane. Pochettino would be hoping the two strike a good partnership quickly and that the Dutch striker is able to take some weight off the England international’s shoulders.
Spurs have also gone ahead and signed Victor Wanyama from Southampton who has completed his reunion with Mauricio Pochettino. The club would hope the midfielder is able to replicate his form when he was working with Pochettino at Southampton.
Spurs have also managed to keep all their star players at the club thus far in what could be called as the best piece of their transfer business in the current window.
The Londoners have shown the world last season that they are finally ready to break the myth surrounding the club’s inability to challenge for the title and will now be looking to test themselves against the best that Europe has to offer. The three friendlies they face before pre-season also has Pochettino testing his squad against European giants. We take a look at their upcoming friendlies against Serie A champions Juventus, La Liga heavyweights Atletico Madrid and Italian powerhouse Inter Milan.
Date: Tuesday, July 26
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia
The first of the three matches will be their toughest test of pre-season as they face Serie A champions Juventus. The Old Lady have made a flurry of signings after their league-winning campaign last season but have been rocked by the departure of star striker Alvaro Morata back to Real Madrid and the rumoured impending world record transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.
The arrivals of Mehdi Benatia on loan from Bayern Munich and Dani Alves on a free transfer from Barcelona are sure to strengthen their already strong defence amidst doubts surrounding Leonardo Bonucci’s future, with Premier League clubs interested in the defender. The Bianconeri have signed midfielder Miralem Pjanic from Roma to fill their midfield slot in case Pogba decides to leave, and the arrival of young winger Marko Pjaca from Dinamo Zagreb has finally completed their quest to find a replacement for Cuadrado.
Tottenham have made their own set of additions, as mentioned above, to strengthen the squad depth and overall quality. Pochettino’s young men now have a season-long experience of playing together and the Argentine would be hoping they are able to go one step further than last season.
Both clubs would be eager to give their new signings a run-in in the match to map their potential and adaptability to the team’s tactics. The two have never met each other in a contest in their history, and with a host of young superstars on show for each side, it is surely to be an exciting encounter. Spurs’ fans would be excited to get a look at their team going head-to-head with the European powerhouse for the first time in what is guaranteed to be a mouth-watering clash.
Date: Friday, July 29
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia
Tottenham will return to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for their second friendly against La Liga side Atletico Madrid. Los Rojiblancos have signed Croatian defender Sime Vrsaljko from Sassuolo while also completing the transfers of two midfielders from Liga Sagres – Nico Gaitan from Benfica and Diogo Jota from Pacos Ferreira. The Spanish club let go of their striker Leo Baptistao who has joined fellow Liga BBVA side Espanyol and are currently on the lookout for a striker, with reports linking them to former Atletico forward Diego Costa.
Pochettino’s men play a similar style to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. The two teams have met once in their history, way back in 1963, in the Euro Cup Winners’ Cup where Tottenham celebrated a 5-1 victory.
Diego Simeone’s men are sure to provide the Londoners with a tough test and it would give Pochettino a chance to evaluate the his style’s effectiveness against a team that plays more or less the same brand of football. Spanish publication AS have reported that Argentine FA is eyeing the two managers to be the next national team coach and this fixture may just prove to be an audition for the job.
Date: Friday, August 5
Venue: Ullevaal Stadion, Norway
Tottenham’s final pre-season fixture ahead of the start of 2016/17 Premier League campaign is against Serie A’s fallen giants Inter Milan. The club is currently managed by former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, who has been shrewd in the transfer market thus far signing Argentine midfielder Ever Banega from Sevilla and defender Caner Erkin from Fenerbahce on free transfers.
The Italian club had failed to finish inside the top four since a second-place finish in the 2010-11 season but Roberto Mancini seems to have steadied the ship at the San Siro. Inter finished fourth under him last season and the manager would be hoping to build on the result in the upcoming campaign.
Tottenham have met Inter on four occasions with 2 wins to each club’s name. Spurs made a name in Europe after running the Serie A club close in the 2010-11 Champions League group stage in Inter Milan’s own backyard. They fell to a narrow 4-3 defeat at the hands of an Inter Milan side which, back then, were the reigning Serie A champions. Tottenham then inflicted a 3-1 defeat to the Nerazzurri at White Hart Lane in the same group stage. The two teams last met in the knockout rounds of the 2013-14 Europa League where the Londoners triumphed over the Serie A club on away goals.
This could be the perfect pre-season for Pochettino to get his squad ready for the battles ahead in the coming season of the Premier League. The Argentine has taken a risk with such tough fixtures ahead of the season and huge losses may just shatter the youthful and exuberant squad’s confidence. But, Mauricio Pochettino would be hoping his side is able to overcome these tough opponents and a couple of wins in these fixtures could just provide the zeal and confidence to start their Premier League campaign with a blast.