“At the end of last season Mauricio was clear what we needed to do and what we certainly shouldn’t do," said Daniel. “He wanted to streamline the squad, strengthen it and retain the ability to develop the talent we already had. Importantly, we also needed to keep our key players.
“That meant reducing the squad number, improving the team defensively and adding exciting attacking forwards. It also meant that if we couldn’t secure the few key targets we wanted, we wouldn’t just add others. And we needed to keep the space for our current players to flourish.”
This summer we moved early to secure our targets and were able to conclude the acquisitions of Dele Alli from Milton Keynes (to join us this July), Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid (on loan last season at Southampton), Kieran Trippier from Burnley and Kevin Wimmer from Cologne.
We went on to add Clinton Njie from Olympique Lyonnais and Heung-Min Son from Bayer Leverkusen.
Aaron Lennon, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Lewis Holtby, Benjamin Stambouli, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul departed the Club over the summer months and we wish them well for the future.
Mauricio said, “I look at our squad and I know we have worked well to shape it. Strengthening our defence was a priority given the number of goals we conceded last season. Toby, Kevin and Kieran add depth and quality.
“In Dele, Sonny and Clinton we have three young, fast and exciting players who can play in several different attacking positions, giving us good options.
“All of them had impressive seasons in their respective leagues last season and we are excited about their potential alongside that of our current players.
“I have been very clear that we would only add players that we felt would improve us and if any one player was not possible then I prefer we do not add for the sake of it. Much has been said about us only having one recognised striker in Harry - I don’t accept this at all - the positional play of today’s forwards means it’s too simplistic to look for goals from any one position - playing a fluid style means players switch. Also we secured Sonny and Clinton in the knowledge that we may not be adding any other forward.”
Daniel added, “We have never, as a Club, spoken about another team’s players and I am not about to do so now. However, I do want to make a few general points regarding transfers.
“Firstly, there is hardly a transfer concluded across Europe which doesn’t include staged payments. This is particularly so when significant amounts such as £20m-£30m are involved - players don’t come cheaply these days.
“Secondly, we do not make anything personal. None of the proposals, discussions or negotiations we undertake involve any personal elements or ego - everything we do is in the interest of what is best for our Club.
“Thirdly, we never make anything public, particularly in the best interests of the players involved. Making aspects such as transfer requests public is wholly disrespectful to a player.
“Our pragmatic player trading has been important in the way we have run the business of the Club and in getting us to the position where we have now been able to start work on a new stadium - the one thing that has the ability to take this Club to the next level of competitiveness. I make no apologies for being ambitious for our Club and looking to deliver future success for our fans.
“This season," underlined Mauricio, “we start with a combination of our own players who have come through the ranks and players that bring skills and experience from other leagues. Most importantly, it’s a squad of players with heart - it’s a squad I’m proud to field.”