By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says the Premier League has made a “big mistake” in continuing to close the transfer window before their European counterparts.
England’s top flight clubs can no longer sign new players after the deadline passed on Thursday but those in Italy, Spain, Germany and France can still strengthen their squads.
Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen and defender Toby Alderweireld both have only one year left on their contracts and Eriksen in particular is on the radar of Real Madrid.
Should a sizeable offer come in before the La Liga window closes the influential Dane could depart, leaving Pochettino with a hole in his squad than cannot be filled until January.
“I’m more than happy with my squad after we close the window in England,” Pochettino, whose sixth season in charge begins on Saturday at home to Aston Villa, told reporters on Friday.
“But, of course we are at a disadvantage to the European clubs because they have 20 days more to operate and that’s a big mistake by the Premier League to allow that.
“At one time it was good because you are going to start the season (knowing your squad), but we have opened the door to clubs in Europe to try to create confusion in your squad.
“I think after two seasons operating in this way I think the Premier League should think if Europe doesn’t change we must go back to operate in the same way that they operate.”
Pochettino said it is especially relevant for the English clubs competing in the Champions League and Europa League.
“The Premier League cannot give this advantage to the European clubs,” the Argentine said. “It’s different if you are not competing with them in Europe. But if you’re competing with the European clubs I think they have made a big mistake.”
The transfer windows in Spain, Germany and France close on Sept. 2 with Italy closing theirs on Aug. 18.
After making no signings last season, Tottenham returned to the market ahead of the new campaign with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele signing from Lyon for 55 million pounds ($66.42 million) in July. Ryan Sessegnon joined on Thursday from Fulham for 25 million and Giovani Lo Celso arrived on loan from Real Betis the same day.
With Tottenham also starting the campaign in their new 62,000-seat stadium, there is optimism that the club, who finished fourth last year, can push and try to close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.
“In every single season our opponents were adding quality and of course for us, in the last three seasons when we didn’t invest too much, so to add new faces always motivates and adds spark to our team,” Pochettino said.
“It creates excitement in the club, in the fans. We will start the season in the new stadium so there are a lot of positives. But we have to be ready for another exciting season.”
($1 = 0.8281 pounds)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)