Soccer-Loss-making Tottenham must recruit better, says chairman Levy

FILE PHOTO: Amercian Football - NFL - Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - October 10, 2021 Chairman of Tottenham Daniel Levy Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy said on Tuesday that the club must improve their player recruitment strategy having spent almost 400 million pounds on new recruits since opening a new stadium in 2019 with little to show for it on the pitch.

In a statement accompanying the publication of the club's latest financial results, Levy said the past two financial years had been challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic with the club making pre-tax losses of nearly 150 million pounds ($200.48 million).

With a new 60,000-seater state-of-the-art stadium and training complex, however, Levy said the building blocks for future success were in place.

Since reaching the Champions League final in 2019, Tottenham have been in decline, finishing sixth and seventh in the Premier League in the following two seasons, although they reached last season's League Cup final.

The popular Mauricio Pochettino was sacked in November 2019 and his replacement, Jose Mourinho, was dismissed in April this year.

Tottenham struggled to recruit a new manager in the summer with Nuno Espritio Santo eventually hired, but he only lasted 10 Premier League games before parting company.

Antonio Conte, Tottenham's initial summer target, is now at the helm with the club in seventh spot following Sunday's home win against Leeds United.

Tottenham's squad includes several recruits who have failed to hit the mark, such as record signing Tanguy Ndombele, Matt Doherty, Giovani Lo Celso and Steven Bergwijn and Conte will want to strengthen in January.

"Since opening the stadium in April 2019, we've spent almost 400 million pounds on players. Player spending is no guarantee of success, and our focus must be on improved recruitment, coaching, fitness and a competitive mindset," Levy said.

Levy added that the recruitment of Fabio Paratici as managing director of football operations was an important step in improving the quality of Tottenham's squad.

"Fabio continued the rebuild in the summer, resulting in the average age of our new summer signings being 22 years compared to the average age of 31 years for the outgoing players," Levy said.

"We shall also look to continue the well-established path for youngsters from our academy to our first team.

"I know that Antonio's approach is if a player is good enough, he will play, regardless of status or age."

Tottenham's net debt stands at 706 million pounds, mostly connected with the stadium development which cost in the region of one billion pounds.

($1 = 0.7482 pounds)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar)

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