Mauricio Pochettino’s 9 most expensive signings & how they fared: Ndombele, Son…
Mauricio Pochettino has a serious task on his hands in reviving a broken Chelsea outfit, but thankfully has the very generous chequebook of Todd Boehly and co to help him along.
The Argentine has carved out a rather strong reputation for himself thanks to his impressive coaching, first announcing him to the football world at Southampton, before he took the job at Tottenham and transformed them into a club that actually looked like a serious team for several years.
It’s not been plain sailing since then, with his time at PSG difficult to judge, but anybody who can get Spurs to a Champions League final deserves their flowers.
But for all the work Poch has done in crafting an overall impressive CV, how good has he been at spending big money wisely? Let’s take a look.
9. Son Heung-min – £22million
In 2015, Spurs parted with an – at the time – rather eye-opening £22million to secure Son Heung-min’s services, with the South Korean having impressed at Bayer Leverkusen.
It took Son a season or so to get to grips with life in England, but when he did, he exploded. The 30-year-old has since appeared over 350 times for the club and is closing in on 150 goals.
He’s also won a Premier League Golden Boot, made the Team of the Season, and been named Tottenham’s Player of the Season three times.
We reckon that’s a hit.
8. Lucas Moura – £23million
Signing halfway through the 2017-18 season, Spurs managed to snap up Moura for a bit of a bargain price with him out of favour in Paris.
He started brilliantly, firing goals in for fun and scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League semi-final to force one of the competition’s all-time greatest comebacks and send Spurs to the Champions League final.
It probably peaked there, though, with Tottenham losing in the final and everything since slowly falling to pieces at the club.
Moura, still only 30, left the club for free upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2022-23 season, following a few dismal campaigns where he slipped down the pecking order.
7. Serge Aurier – £23million
Work permit complications threatened to see the deal fall through, but Spurs managed to complete the signing of 24-year-old Aurier in 2017 from PSG.
The right-back started brightly, but never quite looked completely like the player they thought they were getting. He fell out of favour after Pochettino left the club, before leaving himself in 2021 for free.
6. Ryan Sessegnon – £25million
When Spurs beat just about every other top club to the signing of young Sessegnon in 2019, the deal looked like a stroke of genius.
Sessegnon had burst onto the scene at Fulham, making his debut at 16 and looking every bit a star in the making. Injury disrupted his start to life at Spurs, but things really took a turn for the worst when Pochettino was sacked and replaced with Jose Mourinho, who had no interest in Sessegnon.
In the time since, the left-back has essentially been in limbo. His tenure at the club has coincided with a complete identity crisis post-Pochettino, which has involved playing under Nuno Espirito Santo, Antonio Conte and others in interim spells.
Sessegnon is still only 23, but so far it’s unfortunately been a poor piece of business. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but you do wonder what Pochettino had in mind for him.
5. Moussa Sissoko – £30million
Having impressed in a relegated Newcastle side, Sissoko was the subject of interest from a number of Premier League sides, but predominantly Everton.
He looked set for a switch to Goodison Park until Tottenham swooped in on transfer deadline day in the summer of 2016, matched the Toffees’ offer and convinced the midfielder to move down south instead.
He’d spent the next five years at the club, turning into little more than a rotation arm, but enjoying a brief revival under Jose Mourinho before departing in 2021.
4. Nuno Mendes – £34million
In Pochettino’s first full summer as PSG manager, the club went big in trying to force a squad rebuild. Left-back Mendes was one of several high-profile signings, joining from Sporting CP in 2021, initially on loan before the deal became permanent.
The Argentine only actually managed him for one season, thus wasn’t really able to stamp his mark on his new, younger players like he was able to at Tottenham. He’s been doing fine since, though, existing within the ever-chaotic structure that is PSG.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 18, 2023
3. Davinson Sanchez – £42million
One of the biggest misses on the list, this one is a sore one to swallow.
Sanchez signed for Tottenham from Ajax with plenty of promise in 2017, but just hasn’t been able to live up to the hype.
He started brightly, but quickly faded in influence and in the last few years has barely been anywhere near the first XI, for good reason. Way too erratic. Now 27, he looks nothing like a £42million player and is set to leave the club. Truthfully, he’s probably overstayed his welcome.
2. Achraf Hakimi – £51.1million
Signed in the same summer as Vitinha and Mendes, Hakimi had an instant impact on the PSG XI, providing a significant quality upgrade at right-back.
Nothing has changed almost two seasons on, with the Moroccan one of the first names on their team sheet.
1.Tanguy Ndombele – £53.8million
Sanchez’s blushes are spared by the fact that Tottenham paid a club-record fee to bring Tanguy Ndombele to the club in 2019, which remains arguably their worst piece of business ever.
Perhaps a victim of Pochettino’s sacking, the Frenchman’s slow start spiralled into a nightmare and perhaps the epitome of everything that has been wrong with Tottenham ever since the Argentine left.
Probably one of the most naturally gifted players on their books, Ndombele has never been able to replicate that on the pitch, has never been fancied by any manager since Poch and has been farmed out on loan most recently, winning the Scudetto at Napoli while Spurs have no idea what to do with him.
Will Ange Postecoglu bother with him? Probably not. Will Spurs sell him and recoup as much of the fee they paid while his stock is somewhat high? Again, probably not. What a mess.