Paul Robinson on Tottenham transfers, Gareth Bale and Mauricio Pochettino
We recently sat down with former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson to talk all things Tottenham ahead of the North London Derby.
Speaking to us ahead of his Tottenham versus Arsenal Ladbrokes 5-A-Side selection, Paul Robinson discussed how his former club have succeeded in the transfer window to be considered Premier League challengers.
On Tottenham’s transfer business
“It was an incredible signing to bring Gareth Bale back for the season. A real statement of intent from the club. Everybody said it would be great to get him back and there was a lot of talk, but to actually push the deal through for a player of that quality was a real statement for me.
“It shows they have real ambition to challenge for the title. Bringing in Carlos Vinicius, too, and Pierre-Emile Hojberg who I think has been their best player this season. He sits in that midfield and is very understated, very underrated, putting passes together and pulling the strings.
“I was really impressed with the way they strengthened their defence in the summer. I thought they needed a centre-half and the signing of Joe Rodon is proving to have been absolutely essential now because of the injury to Toby Alderweireld.
“Their strength in depth is going to be questioned; Davinson Sanchez has been left out of a couple of squads – yes he’s back in the squad now but Rodon is currently ahead of him.
“They’ve got strength in depth in the middle third and the final third, but the only question mark I would have is in those defensive areas. You’ve got Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Rodon and Sanchez. It’s going to be a real test to keep those four fit and getting the right balance as to who plays when – simply because they’re competing on so many fronts this season, there’s going to be so many games.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, Spurs have got one of the best, if not the best front threes in the Premier League. Gareth Bale, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane would challenge any front three in world football.
“And even behind those three you’ve got Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli who can play there – they’ve got quality in numbers which is why I genuinely believe they can mount and sustain a serious challenge.
On Gareth Bale
“When Gareth Bale came to Spurs as a kid from Southampton he arrived as a left-back. It was Martin Jol who moved him up the pitch and focused on his attacking abilities. It just happened during one pre-season, Martin came in and decided to just play him a little bit higher up the pitch.
“Back then you couldn’t see the world beater that he was going to turn into. He was still very young and there was that horrible statistic during that first season where every time he played we lost!
“Every time he played we couldn’t get a result. It was just a complete coincidence, but it’s an amazing stat to look back on. For all of his awards and trophies, one of the best footballers of our generation has a stat like that.
“You’ve got to take your hat off to him and give him an immense amount of credit for how he’s worked on his physique and change both on and off the pitch.
“Again, you’ve got to give Daniel Levy credit for backing his manager and paying the wages to bring a player of Gareth Bale’s ilk into that dressing room. Knowing what a winner he is and how much of an influence he could have this season, you’ve got to give credit to the manager and the chairman.”
On Mauricio Pochettino
“I’d love to see him at Leeds. I’d absolutely love to see him being Marcelo Bielsa’s successor. I can’t see Poch hanging around and waiting for Bielsa to decide that he’s going to retire, or move on.
“But we’ve heard about Pep Guardiola and Pochettino talk about Bielsa – they hold him in such high esteem and high regard. Apprentice taking over from the master would seem like a natural progression.
“That’s fantasy football talk and what you’d like to see for your hometown team and I can’t really see it happening but I’d love it.
“I think as long as Pochettino is out of work, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is always going to be under pressure. He’s always going to get linked with Manchester United and his stock hasn’t gone down at all since being sacked by Tottenham.
“He’s regarded as one of the top managers, despite not winning anything of note. Whenever there is a top job available, he’s always going to be linked regardless.”