Mauricio Pochettino has never had untold riches to spend as Tottenham boss, meaning he has often had to be creative in finding ways to evolve the squad at his disposal.
Despite their struggles in 2019-20, Spurs are in a much healthier position now than when Pochettino was appointed in 2014, thanks in no small part to the Argentine’s ability to get the most out of the players at his disposal.
We’ve taken a closer look at the 37 players with Premier League minutes to have left Tottenham under his watch, and where appropriate mentioned who came in as a replacement.
Injuries scuppered Sandro’s career in England, having initially impressed so much that Roberto Mancini wanted to sign the midfielder for Manchester City.
The Brazilian eventually left for QPR in 2014 having made just 12 Premier League appearances in his final season at White Hart Lane, which helped convince Pochettino to sanction a sale.
Benjamin Stambouli joined Spurs on the same day as Sandro was sold, yet his place was ultimately taken by a young player who was signed as a defender earlier in the summer, Eric Dier.
Spurs went to an awful lot of trouble to sign Fryers from Manchester United via Standard Liege, but it really wasn’t worth the hassle.
The left-back made seven league appearances in 2013-14, and Pochettino had seen enough to allow him to join Crystal Palace having already secured the signature of Ben Davies from Swansea City.
A Tottenham stalwart, Dawson was allowed to join Hull City after nine years with the north Londoners, yo-yoing between the top flight and the Championship in his four years with the Tigers.
Just a day after Dawson left, Spurs signed Federico Fazio from Sevilla. The Argentine struggled in England, yet has impressed at Roma, where he has spent the last three seasons.
We still marvel at Falque’s CV, which features Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Tottenham and Roma, although he has only settled at Torino.
Given the forward’s sole Premier League appearance came as a late substitute in a defeat against Everton, Pochettino didn’t bother replacing the youngster, especially with Harry Kane having emerged the previous campaign.
“I think after he moved to Swansea and we saw his development at Swansea, he was a perfect player for us,” Pochettino said of Sigurdsson in 2016. “But it was a club decision and his decision to move to Swansea and find another way.
“Every time we meet him and see him, he shows his quality – not only as a player but like a man. All the people here talk very highly about him. It’s a shame but sometimes in football you never know what will happen. There are no regrets.”
Spurs already had Christian Eriksen on their books in terms of attacking midfielders and signed Dele Alli the following January, so perhaps Sigurdsson wasn’t particularly missed, despite his undoubted quality.
Livermore played for England as recently as 2017, which doesn’t feel right.
The midfielder was the first player sold rather than released under Pochettino, although it wouldn’t be outrageous to suggest he may have been more useful than Stambouli.
Considered ahead of Harry Kane in the Tottenham youth ranks, Lancaster made his only Premier League appearance as a substitute against Wigan in 2012, and it’s fair to say Pochettino backed the right horse with Kane.
With Dier operating at right-back at times during Pochettino’s debut campaign, there really wasn’t much need for Naughton to hang around in north London – especially with fellow Sheffield United product Kyle Walker still at the club.
Assou-Ekotto had spent the previous season on loan at QPR and played no part under Pochettino before being released at the end of the January transfer window with Danny Rose and Ben Davies ahead of him in the pecking order.
Overtaken by Harry Kane in Pochettino’s first season, Adebayor was released to join Crystal Palace in September 2015.
Spurs, meanwhile, opted for the more dynamic attacking options of Son Heung-min and, erm, Clinton N’Jie.
It’s difficult to imagine Lennon playing under Pochettino, and he spent just six months under the Argentine before being sent on loan to Everton, who he joined permanently in the summer of 2015.
The winger was still probably better than Clinton N’Jie.
We’re just going to take this opportunity to remind you Soldado attempted to kick a football into a crowd of fans at his Villarreal unveiling and f*cking missed.
Throwback to when Spurs flop Roberto Soldado was presented to Villarreal fans but couldn’t kick a ball into the crowd. Twice! 🤪pic.twitter.com/SJNP3usAG0
— Football Mumble (@football_mumble) February 21, 2019
Chiriches out, Toby Alderweireld (and Kevin Wimmer) in. Fair play.
Kaboul out, Toby Alderweireld (and Kevin Wimmer) in. Fair play.
Kicking off a run of midfielders the emergence of Dele Alli, along with Eric Dier’s evolution into a holding midfielder, rendered pointless, Spurs at least made a small profit on Stambouli thanks to selling him to PSG. He only lasted a season there too.
He’s been good for Watford, hasn’t he?
We still inexplicably really like him, which means we were delighted to see him rock up at Blackburn Rovers this season.
Lewis Holtby scoring today, get him back 🤣 pic.twitter.com/CbkWtn1UXU
— Mark Woodland🎮⚽🏴 (@SpursDaft) October 19, 2019
Nobody expected Paulinho to end up at Barcelona. We’re fairly certain not even Paulinho expected that.
Sold for just €300,000, central defender Veljkovic has impressed since joining Werder Bremen in 2016 and has even been linked with a return to the Premier League.
Like Lennon, Townsend feels like he belongs to a different era at Spurs, and he made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League in 2015-16 before being allowed to join Newcastle in the January, ending the season relegated albeit with a 5-1 victory over his former club.
The writing was on the wall for Mason when Victor Wanyama was signed for £11million from Southampton in June 2016, and Spurs managed to end up with change to spare after selling the midfielder to Hull City for £13million.
Chadli featured under three managers in three years at Spurs, telling HLN in September: “I had great years with Tottenham. Unfortunately I never got the full confidence of the coach.”
Two days after Chadli joined West Brom, Spurs signed Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, meaning absolutely nobody was better off.
Pochettino talking to Chadli, Mason and Carroll like… pic.twitter.com/R3YcjKnO4W
— m (@THFCWD) August 27, 2016
There was plenty of excitement when Spurs signed Yedlin after the right-back had shone for the USA at the 2014 World Cup, but he made just one Premier League appearance – in a defeat to Aston Villa – before being loaned out to Sunderland and then dropping down to the Championship to join Newcastle permanently with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier ahead of him in the pecking order.
*Alan Partridge shrug*
“I would be a hypocrite to say that I would not like to be there, and I am not a hypocrite,” Bentaleb told The Independent in February 2019, reflecting on his time at Tottenham. “But this is football.”
The midfielder admits he made mistakes in falling out with Pochettino after a spell on the sidelines, although he has carved out a decent career in the Bundesliga with Schalke.
*Alan Partridge shrug*
One of the first signals that all was perhaps not as rosy at Tottenham under Pochettino as it seemed, Walker left for Manchester City in the summer of 2017 after falling out with the Argentine.
Serge Aurier arrived in his place later that summer, but it’s not really worked out, has it?
Fazio had spent the past 18 months out on loan before joining Roma on a permanent deal, with Spurs signing compatriot Juan Foyth as his replacement with an eye on the future.
Since leaving Tottenham, N’Jie’s career is best summed up by one of the worst shots of all time and the story that he accidentally livestreamed himself having sex in celebration of joining Dynamo Moscow.
We’ve all done it.
Clinton N'Jie's shot against Atlético Madrid in all its glory.
HOW? 😲😂 pic.twitter.com/JIXzNXn8xC
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 16, 2018
It gets forgotten that Wimmer was actually decent for Tottenham before being an absolute shitshow for Stoke City, where he is still technically on the books, albeit on loan at Royal Excel Mouscron.
Dembele played his best football in England under Pochettino, but his body began to fail him and it was hard to argue with the decision to sell the midfielder to Guangzhou R&F in January.
Spurs weren’t into the whole ‘signing players’ thing around that time, but it did allow Harry Winks to step up and cement his place in Pochettino’s starting XI.
We’ll always love him, and not just because of his eyes, but Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura are probably better suited to how Spurs play these days.
After a poor 2018-19 by his own admission, few questioned Pochettino’s decision to sell Trippier to Atletico Madrid in the summer.
The decision to not sign a replacement, however, looks increasingly strange while Trippier impresses in Spain.
We’ll miss you, big man.
Once a hot prospect at Spurs, a series of loan moves to the Championship saw Onomah fail to kick on.
Such a role is now being faithfully fulfilled by Jack Clarke at Leeds United.
Sometimes it’s best when you say nothing at all.