Mauricio Pochettino already has new Chelsea answer to Harry Kane and it’s not Romelu Lukaku
Between the 2014/15 Premier League season and the 2017/18 campaign Tottenham amassed 297 points. It was a total that Chelsea, despite winning the title on two occassions during that period, could only better by three. Although for the entirety of those four years Chelsea were either on their way to winning the league or already reigning champions, they only bettered Spurs’ rolling total by one win.
For a club that had only finished in the top four once until that point it was Mauricio Pochettino’s squad that earned immense praise. The Argentine took the club from north London to four successive seasons in the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. By contrast, Chelsea, who were competing further on in the table, only finished in the top four twice. Both those seasons were title wins – it was the epitome of boom or bust.
It is worth adding that whilst Tottenham were in two title races, a Champions League final and came out with no silverware, they probably shouldn’t have even done that. Across the same time period they spent £289.1m on new players, Chelsea splashed out on £559.6m worth of transfers.
Translating that into a quick and basic pounds-per-point number, Chelsea spent £1.86m per point during those four years (not including players already at the club). Tottenham under Pochettino spent nearly half that at £970,000. Factor in the sales over the period and Tottenham’s net transfer spend was just £32.6m. Chelsea’s was £83.3m.
As owners that want to create a sustainable and self-helping system, especially on the recruitment side, it’s easy to see why Todd Boehly and Co are so keen to make the 51-year- old the next man in the Stamford Bridge hot seat. One way Pochettino did that was by making the most of young players. Most noticeably he turned Harry Kane from a relative unknown quantity into a world superstar.
Dele Alli thrived under Pochettino having signed for just £5m and players such as Son Heung-Min excelled for a lowly cost at the time of less than £25m. Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Moussa Dembele, Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen all went up a level under his coaching. None more so than Kane though and the Englishman replaced the remarkable exploits of Gareth Bale in front of goal.
Chelsea this season have struggled massively to get going in front of goal and have scored less than one per game in the league. In four matches under Frank Lampard, the only strike was a deflected effort from Conor Gallagher. A new centre-forward is likely on the list of players needed over the summer but there is a player that Pochettino may, if he is appointed, turn to that is already at Chelsea. It’s not Romelu Lukaku either.
The Belgian could be in line for a miraculous return to Stamford Bridge over the summer but Pochettino’s best work has come with less prominent players. On that list at Chelsea is Armando Broja. The 21-year-old has missed the second half of the season due to a damaging knee injury but showed signs of physicality up front that Chelsea have lacked. His speed was also mightily impressive.
Although the Albanian only score once in his 294 minutes of action he offers something different to the other attackers with his direct approach. Broja only has 17 senior league goals to his name at this stage but Kane also had 17 before his first full season in the Premier League.
It is unreasonable to suggest that Broja will go on to score the volume that Kane has, but when it comes to giving young players a try in a new environment, Pochettino certainly has previous. Without a natural No. 9 for much of this season due to the lack of trust in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it isn’t unreasonable to suggest Broja will have a serious opportunity to impress and perhaps there isn’t a better manager to be under in that situation than Pochettino.