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esporra

SUNDAY

62 January 27, 2019

BACK SOON: Son

Spurs in

hunt for

last gasp

signing

SPURS are trying to get at

least one deal over the line

before the transfer window

closes.

Manager Mauricio

Pochettino is fighting

against time with just a

couple of days left.

The Argie had said he

wouldn’t be doing any

business in January.

But a crazy run of

injuries have forced

Tottenham’s hand.

The Londoners didn’t

make any signings in the

summer and that decision

seems to be coming back

to bite.

Harry Kane and Dele Alli

are out for at least a

month, which may lead to

chairman Daniel Levy

loosening the purse

strings.

They join Ben Davies

and Moussa Sissoko on

the easy list.

Pochettino said: “We’ll

see. We are working on a

few options.

“We’ll see if we are

capable of delivering, but

in the same way of course

we have the squad.

“Now we have maybe

one space because Mousa

Dembele has gone.

“But we need to be

careful because for the

Champions League if it’s a

player that is not an

English player we don’t

have the space.

Changed

“It is so important to be

careful about the decision.

“But we are always

hoping to try to add quality

and try to improve the

squad.

“We are open to buying

a player like always.

Different options. In

England, outside of

England.

“But that is not new, not

changed.

“I think always we were

working and trying to find

the right profile.

“If we didn’t sign it’s

because we can’t sign, not

because we didn’t want to.

“The numbers are

limited and when you have

the full squad and you

have no space you cannot

sign. That is the problem

too.

“Maybe you are open to

sign but if you don’t have

space in the squad you are

going to sign and you need

to change a player on the

list that you need to put

out. I think that is not

right.”

There was some good

news for Spurs with South

Korea getting knocked out

of the Asian Cup early.

That means striker Son

Heung-min will be back

ahead of schedule next

weekend.

MANUEL Pellegrini has warned young West Ham stars Declan

Rice and Grady Diangana that they must keep working hard

to make it as top footballers.

The latter has just penned a six-year contract after impressing since

breaking into the first team from the academy.

Rice is tied to the Hammers for five years thanks to a string of top

performances in the heart of midfield. Pellegrini believes it’s essential

for the club to bring players like

the dynamic duo through.

But he is also cautioning the

youngsters that the next couple of

years will decide how successful

they become.

Pellegrini said: “Diangana

deserves it, he has taken a step

with the squad of our team — he

was in the under 23s before and

now he is working every day with

our squad.

“I think he has a lot of quality

and we will see an important

player in the future of this club.

“Now his development will

depend on his ambitions and his

mind, to try to improve every day.

“I try always to tell young

players that they are in the most

dangerous part of their careers,

when they think that they have

arrived but they have not arrived

yet.

“They have started arriving, but

PROSPECT:

Grady Diangana

they must improve every day

working with professional players.

“Fortunately for me in all the

teams I managed before I’ve had

young players to try to develop

their qualities. I hope West Ham

will be exactly the same.

“Declan started improving a lot,

he played last season, now we have

Grady to help to be an important

player for West Ham.”

Pellegrini could be boosted by

the early return of one his more

experienced players — Manuel

Lanzini.

The Argentine forward has been

on the sidelines since doing his

cruciate ligament in training for

the World Cup in June.

It has been a long road back but

the 25-year-old is now just weeks

away from pulling on the claret

and blue again.

Difference

That would allow Pellegrini to

get all of his attacking talent on to

the pitch.

But he won’t be rushing his star

back and risk him picking up

another problem.

The Hammers boss knows he’ll

have a lot of attacking options

though. He said: “Maybe we can

make this team play with all of

them together.

“With Yarmolenko, with Lanzini,

with Anderson, with Nasri, with

Noble, with Snodgrass. We have

technical players who can make a

good difference.

“Lanzini wants to be on the pitch

again. He wants to play tomorrow

but he must be calm.

“He has a programme and the

way he must continue to recover

his knee, the important thing is it

is in the correct way so he does not

feel any problems or pain.

“He must continue with his

recovery for at least the next

month.”

CHRIS READY FOR BIG TIME

By MARK NAYLOR

NEW Bournemouth signing

Chris Mepham is getting

ready for a baptism of fire

in the Premier League.

The defender has moved

from Brentford and believes

stepping up one division

will make the football “10

times harder”.

The Cherries shelled out

£12m for the centre-back

and his first assignment

could be to mark Gonzalo

Higuain when they take on

Chelsea next weekend.

The 21-year-old can’t wait

for the challenge. The Welsh

BY ANDY MILLOM

international said: “Since I

was a little boy my dream

was to play in the Premier

League and I think there’s

no better way than to

showcase it against those

top players and see what

you’re at.

“I know it’s going to be

very hard.

“Playing in the

Championship, you come

across some very good

strikers, I’d imagine the

RISING STAR:

Declan Rice

step up to the Premier

League’s going to be 10

times harder.

“It’s something I need to

work hard towards but I’d

love playing against people

like that every week.”

And Mepham has a settle

to score with the Bridge boys

as he was released by

Chelsea after training there

as a schoolboy.

He went into non-league

football before buzzing into

the Bees.

Mepham hopes moving to

the top flight will also help

his international career for

the Dragons.

He added: “I think Ryan

Giggs spoke to my agent

recently, just wishing us

well done on the deal.

“I think it’s going to be

good for him as well.

“Being a national team

manager you want as many

players playing in the

Premier League as possible.

“It seems not too long ago

that I was playing for North

Greenford reserves, so it

does show how far I’ve

come.”

Pellegrini urges

young stars to

take their time

MOVE:

Mepham

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