Kane put Morata off Spurs, claims Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Alvaro Morata two years ago and said the Spain international was deterred by the presence of the prolific Harry Kane at White Hart Lane.
Kane put Morata off Spurs, claims Pochettino

Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata (center) participates in a training session with teammates in Singapore on July 24, 2017, on the eve of their preseason International Champions Cup match against Bayern Munich.

New Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata turned down a move to Tottenham Hotspur because he feared the competition from striker Harry Kane, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed.

Morata, 24, joined English Premier League champion Chelsea from Real Madrid last month for a reported fee of 58 million pounds (US$76.8 million).

Pochettino spoke to Morata about a move to Spurs two years ago and said the Spain international was deterred by the presence of the prolific Kane at White Hart Lane.

"Morata talked about myself, in the media he said: 'Mauricio called me.' That was two years ago or more," Pochettino said, in comments published by several British newspapers on Wednesday.

"He said to me: 'Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?'"

Unlike their EPL title rivals, Spurs are yet to make a significant close-season signing and the new campaign is just over a week away.

Spurs have mounted stirring title challenges in both of the past two campaigns and Pochettino said the strength of his first XI was deterring potential new recruits.

"You know, if you go to try to sign a striker, they will say: 'Eh gaffer, you want me for what? To be on the bench?' I can't compete with Harry Kane or Hugo Lloris or different players,'" he said.

"It's so difficult to convince good players to come and then be on the bench. Then the problems start."

But the Argentine insisted that  failure to recruit quality signings that will help increase competition within the squad could leave Spurs struggling to end their trophy drought, Reuters reported.

Tottenham is the only EPL side yet to add to its squad in the close season, while its England international right back Kyle Walker has departed for rival Manchester City.

Increasing competition

All the teams expected to challenge Tottenham for silverware have strengthened and Pochettino said his hopes of ending the club's nine-year wait for a trophy relied on increasing competition within the ranks.

"How have Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and different clubs tried to improve their season?" the Argentine told British media. "Bringing players and trying to put more pressure on their star players — and for us we need to do that too.

"Right, now (I hear) we need to win some trophies, no? That is good, the pressure. I think it's important to understand now that we need to be clever how we manage the expectation and how we need to put pressure on our own players."

Under Pochettino, Tottenham has evolved into one of the top teams in the league, but the manager has concerns over how to keep his players motivated.

"We understand that Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, (Eric) Dier, (Toby) Alderweireld are really good players. They want to win but need to feel the pressure a little bit to improve every season," he added.

"If there's no competition it's normal to drop your motivation, it's normal to drop everything that you do. And then it's difficult to win."

He reiterated his belief that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would strengthen the squad but said Tottenham could not go toe-to-toe with the rich sides of Manchester.

"The problem is so clear," he said. "We are not a club today that can compete with Manchester United and City for a player. We cannot fight. We are in a different way.

"But the thing is Daniel is very keen to sign like me. These type of player we are talking about they are not easy to find."

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