Jose Mourinho is still in the honeymoon phase of his time as Tottenham Hotspur manager.
He sings praises of chairman Daniel Levy, he is not sending transfer window barbs through his press conferences and acknowledges the limitations of the north London club on what they can and can’t do in the market.
However, the Portuguese is aware that his side need strengthening in key areas of his squad if they have to challenge for a place in the top four next season.
Liverpool and Manchester City seem out of reach for Spurs but Chelsea and Manchester United are closer, but the two clubs are expected to spend big.
Can Mourinho maintain his temper if his two former clubs spend big while Levy haggles around Europe and try to look for cut-price deals, free transfers or loans?
Good or bad, Jose Mourinho remains an immensely competitive individual. His managerial powers might be on the decline, he remains a man who wants to take his club to the top.
But the double whammy of the pandemic and debt incurred due to the new stadium is likely to severely affect Tottenham’s ability to shell out transfer fees for quality players.
The Spurs manager wants quality additions but does he have the money to adequately strengthen his squad?
What do Tottenham need in the market?
Spurs need this summer what they have needed for the last few years – a quality back-up to Harry Kane. The Tottenham captain has been one of the best centre-forwards in Europe over the last few years and is the talismanic presence up front for the north London club.
But he has also been the only quality forward option Tottenham have had for a while.
Tottenham have been searching for a back-up to Kane for a few years. The Vincent Janssen experience crashed and burned and it seems like an endless search. There are a few obstacles in getting a player of quality in that position.
For starters, Harry Kane will be the first name on Tottenham’s team sheet when fit and therefore, convincing a quality striker to come in and be his understudy for most of the season seems unreasonable.
A top-quality forward would want to play an adequate amount of games and Tottenham also do not pay the kind of wages needed to lure such a player.
So, Spurs are forced to look for a striker in the level below and gamble on someone coming in and doing the job adequately when needed to replace Kane in the team.
For the moment, Tottenham are still searching for a Harry Kane alternative and has been linked with a move for Fenerbahce striker Vedat Muriqi, who is expected to cost around €20m.
Philippe Coutinho has also been linked with a move to Tottenham but the veracity of the claims should be questioned as Spurs are unlikely to have the funds to either afford his transfer fee or an expensive loan fee or the wages the Brazilian would command.
It is also uncertain whether Jose Mourinho would like a player of Coutinho’s mercurial nature in a midfield where he demands more discipline.
Spurs have made a move for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but early signs are that the negotiations will drag on with Southampton and for the moment, Everton have offered more money on the table. The key is, the player would prefer a move to north London over Merseyside.
Mourinho also wants a centre-back and a right-back in his squad. Spurs have faced defensive issues and the Tottenham boss wants reinforcements to provide more stability to his back four next season.
Jose Mourinho’s clearance sale
Tottenham are also expected to raise some cash through the market by selling a few players Jose Mourinho doesn’t want in his squad. The first name on that list is Tanguy Ndombele.
Spurs paid a club-record fee to sign him from Lyon last summer but the Frenchman has failed to settle in England and Mourinho has not shied away from criticising him in public.
The player has reportedly fallen out with the Tottenham boss and wants to leave after just one season with the Premier League outfit.
A move to Italy has been mooted and Serie A giants Inter Milan are interested. But Mourinho’s jibes at Ndombele has driven his price down and in the current market, recouping his fee would be difficult for Tottenham.
This saga could run until the final hours of the transfer window.
Jose Mourinho also wants to sell Juan Foyth, who didn’t feature much under the Portuguese this season. The Argentine is also keen to leave and has been linked with a move to newly-promoted Leeds United. Marcelo Bielsa is said to be interested in signing his compatriot.
Serge Aurier’s future at Tottenham is also under the scanner. While his attacking output has been good, the right-back has been repeatedly exposed in defence.
The Spurs boss wants a more defensively solid full-back and the former PSG man could be binned for a different option.
And most importantly, Jose Mourinho has to adapt to Daniel Levy’s negotiating methods as he is unlikely to get any player signed up quickly.
However, if the Tottenham chairman delays making moves in the market and dither on signing or selling players, the honeymoon period between him and his manager could soon enter the inevitable discord phase.