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Expect more aggressive, dominant style at Spurs

Tottenham coach Ange Postecoglou was walking around this week with a big smile on his face after signing Israeli attacker Manor Solomon...

Tottenham coach Ange Postecoglou was walking around this week with a big smile on his face after signing Israeli attacker Manor Solomon on a free transfer. Formerly on loan to Fulham he has cancelled his deal with Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk because of the Russian invasion. 23-year-old Solomon has become the fourth summer signing after goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, midfielder James Maddison and winger Dejan Kulusevski. Postecoglou prioritised bringing in players who could better service his forwards.

In his first meaningful press conference Postecoglou told us that it is his aim to restore Tottenham’s “aggressive and dominant” attacking football and not the safety-first approach of recent times under Antonio Conte which bored supporters. He also emphasized how the club had lost its way off the pitch and needed a change of direction. He said, “That is my job and why I was brought here.”  He promised to be ruthless with staff and players who did not buy into his way of managing. He continued, “I have been and will be clear about my expectations and what I think we need to be like as a group of players, staff and as a football club and I don’t think that’s too far from the kind of things Harry Kane was talking about last season.” Harry had previously criticised the club for losing some of its values and standards. He emphasised that the players who stay or leave is as much down to attitude as it is to quality. When questioned about Tanguy Ndombele for instance, he said the midfielder, who is a strong character, might decide the Postecoglou way is not for him.

Bayern cannot afford Harry Kane

Bayern Munich know Harry Kane can be bought much cheaper after the January transfer window and the truth is they cannot afford him at present. Harry reported for pre-season training on Monday knowing that chairman Daniel Levy has put a price on his top striker of £120million. The squad will now enjoy a tour of Australia and South-East Asia. Prior to leaving, Harry sat down with new coach Ange Postecoglou to discuss his future and acknowledged that Bayern and Manchester United were interested but do not have the funds available to buy him. Despite Postecoglou promising to convince Harry about his future under his leadership he would not give him reassurances because Levy is the ultimate power and he has given the coach no assurances. Tottenham have agreed to increase Kane’s salary from £300k a week to nearer £400k but he knows that at the end of next season he would bank a fortune as free agent and he wants to win trophies before it is too late.

Klopp puts players through his “Lactose” test

Footballers earn spectacular salaries but when Jurgen Klopp is your boss you know you will earn every dollar during training. Their expensive array of cars pulled into the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby last weekend. Klopp’s usual big welcoming grin didn’t fool anyone and the players knew their holidays were well and truly over. Klopp is famed for his strenuous workouts carried out under the eye of his lieutenant Andreas Kornmayer. Klopp knows that getting his players in shape now will prevent the string of muscle injuries suffered last season between mid-July and the end of August. Klopp had been planning this week for four months.

His famous lactate tests were on full display. Players have to run a fast circuit of the training track and their blood acid levels are measured. If all is okay they carry on and if not they have to drop out. Andy Robertson remembers his first training lactose test…he was physically sick on the ground as he ran around with Danny Ings! He was pleased Klopp wasn’t present but when he returned he knew all about it and called Andy Mr Sick Boy! While he was at the club James Milner finished highest in the lactose ratings for every season such was his superb fitness.

Trent-Alexander will be a player to watch this season. He has adjusted to the “hybrid” role of playing as defender moving into the centre when in possession and making an impressive number of cutting passes to his forwards and even taking shots at goal himself. He played this role effectively for Liverpool at the end of the season and again for England and suddenly Liverpool have a fresh midfield. Alexander-Arnold showed how determined he is to make things work for Klopp this season by returning from holiday after only one week and has been training hard in order to meet Klopp’s training programme which started officially on Tuesday.

Jordan Henderson has also cut short his holiday and returned looking like a well muscled boxer after working in Portugal with the Red’s physio Matt Konopinski.

Most of the senior players have now returned and Jurgen is determined there will be no repeat of last season’s lacklustre performances.

John Terry back at Stamford Bridge

I spotted John Terry in Cobham last week, he still has a house in the town. Of all the most famous players at Chelsea over the past 20 years two standout names are Frank Lampard and John Terry. After retirement Lampard returned as coach but has now departed and it is the chance of John Terry to return ‘home’. New boss Mauricio Pochettino has shaken up the club staff and brought Terry in to take up an academy role three months after leaving his consultancy with the Blues. Terry won five Premier League titles with Chelsea, five FA Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League and he played 717 matches.

Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should have returned to the Cobham training ground this week but were told to stay away as the club negotiate their transfers. Christian Pulisic had a medical at AC Milan this week.

Reece wants captaincy

Over at Stamford Bridge Reece James has let it be known that he is interested in wearing the captain’s armband. Real Madrid have Reece on their radar but his father has revealed that Reece wants to stay at Chelsea and replace Cesar Azpilicueta as team leader.

United’s pre-season tour

Manchester United looked a different team in training this week as they adjusted to life in Norway where they played Leeds in a friendly and won 2-0. Diogo Jota, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Marcus Rashford did not play against Leeds. They will probably play against French club Lyon in Scotland next week. Dean Henderson, Donny van de Beek, Anthony Martial and Antony have all been left behind in Manchester but United staff could not tell me why. Mason Mount is settling in and together with Fred it gives United the benefit of a left and right footed midfield but I am assured their partnership will not be permanent for the start of next season. Mount made a 40-yard shot at the Leeds goal which clipped the top of the net. Mount, Verane and Martinez all need game time following injuries. Wan-Bissaka and Verane are almost certain to play their part in the pre-season tour and Fernandez can press home his claim for a starting place with Luke Shaw still not fit. Mount will create most interest but Ten Hag does not intend to play anyone for more than 45 minutes in any of the games. Jadon Sancho has only two years left on his contract but he has rarely shown the sort of performances achieved in the Bundesliga at Dortmund. Primarily signed as a right-winger he looks more comfortable on the left where he cuts inside to lay on passes to his strikers. At present he is behind Rashford on the left and Antony on the right but at the start of the season he might have to settle for a seat on the sub’s bench. Sancho probably has more to prove on the pre-season tour than any other player.

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