Ange Postecoglou demands ‘change’ with Richarlison a contender to lead Tottenham clearout

Alfie Gilchrist tackles Richarlison
Totteham will look to offload Richarlison in the summer - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Ange Postecoglou has warned his Tottenham squad “change has to happen” before a busy summer in which the club will listen to offers for a host of players including striker Richarlison.

As well as Richarlison, Spurs are prepared to cash in on the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Emerson Royal as Postecoglou plots the next phase of his rebuild.

Sources insist midfielder Yves Bissouma will not be among those who will effectively be up for sale this summer, but an attractive bid for the midfielder would leave the club with a decision to make.

Three successive defeats before Sunday’s game against Liverpool at Anfield have underlined the changes head coach Postecoglou still needs to make.

Telegraph Sport this week reported that Tottenham are working on two transfer plans for if they finish fifth, where they currently stand, or manage to qualify for the Champions League.

Midfielders Conor Gallagher and Amadou Onana, defenders Lloyd Kelly and Tosin Adarabioyo, and wingers Raphinha and Samuel Iling-Junior are all on Tottenham’s radar, with the club also needing to decide whether or not to sign Timo Werner on a long-term basis.

Torino's Samuele Ricci in action with Juventus' Samuel Iling-Junior

Postecoglou would like to sign a new out-and-out striker, with bids for Richarlison, who has been the subject of interest from Saudi Arabia, expected to be carefully considered.

“We need change,” said Postecoglou. “Change has to happen. You can’t want to alter your course, and quite dramatically for this club because we went down a certain direction and now we’re pivoting to a whole different direction, and expect the same people are going to be on that [journey]. It’s just not going to happen,

“We’ve had two [transfer] windows and we’ve had some development of players, for sure. But when I say we’ve still got a long way to go, that’s what I’m talking about.

“We can’t be there yet because it’s impossible to say you’re going to have drastic change and yet expect everyone to be on that journey. It’s not for the want of trying. It’s just that we’re going to play a certain way, we’re going to train a certain way and we’re going to have a certain mindset, and that’s not for everyone.

“And the same way, whether it’s Liverpool or Arsenal, if you look at the beginning of their journeys, by the time they win the competition or have success, the team’s almost unrecognisable. That’s the reality, if you change.”

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
The days of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, a Jose Mourinho signing, look numbered at Spurs - Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Tottenham have offloaded senior players such as Eric Dier, Hugo Lloris, Lucas Moura and Davinson Sánchez during the past two transfer windows, while Harry Kane moved to Bayern Munich.

Asked if he is faced with tough decisions over outgoings, Postecoglou hinted they may extend past the playing squad by saying: “We’ve already made tough decisions, we let some experienced players leave the club at the beginning of the year, some by choice. But again, I feel like if we’re really going to change, that means change. You have to make decisions.

“Some of those decisions aren’t that tough because whether it’s a player or a staff member, they realise it themselves and say, ‘You know what, I’ve got a better path somewhere else and you’ve got a better path here.’ So they’re not that tough, but some of them you have to make just because of change, not necessarily because they don’t fit in the picture but you still have to change.

“I’ve got to change this squad, I have to. Because I’ve got to build a squad I think can play our football. For that to happen, there has to be exits. I can’t just keep everyone here and keep bringing in players. So sometimes you let people go who you think ‘he’s a good player’ but how am I going to change if I don’t do that.”

Some of Postecoglou’s successors have complained that they have been prevented from overhauling the Tottenham squad, but he is confident he has the backing of chairman Daniel Levy and chief football officer Scott Munn.

“All I can say is that at the moment I feel like the club has bought into my vision and it’s up to me,” said Postecoglou. “It’s not about patience, it’s about belief. I need to keep working and taking us forward in a manner that there is belief in the club that they should continue to support my vision for it.”

Postecoglou revealed that he took his oldest son to Anfield to watch Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Stoke City in 2016 and witnessed first-hand the support Jürgen Klopp received from the entire club.

“I think if you look at it for the most part, most successful clubs, that’s the kind of formula,” said Postecoglou. “Part of that responsibility lies on me to make sure that I’m leading in a way that allows people to believe in me and support me because it’s the only way I’m going to have success. I’m not going to do it on my own, that’s for sure. I never have.

“Wherever I’ve been, I’ve had great support and right now I have all the support I need. I really feel like the club has bought into the vision I have and it’s up to me to maintain that.”

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