London: Jose Mourinho has told Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, that he does not need to break the bank to deliver silverware on his return to management, but he is adamant Harry Kane must not be allowed to leave this summer.
Levy appointed Mourinho as Tottenham’s head coach on a three-and-a-half-year contract, worth up to £13 million a year, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, having only confirmed the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino and his staff the previous evening.
Mourinho held a team meeting at Tottenham’s Enfield training centre hours after his arrival, in which he told the squad that they must pull together to save the season. He also held individual talks with senior players, including Kane.
The Portuguese will focus most of his efforts on trying to rebuild the Tottenham defence, but he is otherwise satisfied that he largely has a squad capable of challenging for trophies — as long as Kane stays at the club. Any January business may have to be subsidised by the sales of other players.
Kane’s Spurs future had started to become uncertain under Pochettino after the 26-year-old made it clear that he wanted to start winning trophies to go with his various goal records.
Mourinho will ask Kane to give him at least one full season to prove that he can bring Tottenham’s 11-year trophy drought to an end and succeed where Pochettino ultimately fell short.
Levy also remains determined to keep his star player, whom he values at £250 million. Mourinho wants to work closely with Kane and rates him as one of the best strikers in the world. He is also a fan of Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, who will be integral parts of his attacking options.
It is understood that Mourinho’s primary concern is over Tottenham’s defence, with Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen approaching the final six months of their contracts, Danny Rose struggling to reproduce his best form and right back Kieran Trippier still to be replaced.
Mourinho admires Benfica’s 22-year-old centre-back Ruben Dias, who could emerge as a potential signing, while Tottenham’s scouting department has a long-standing interest in Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, also a target of Chelsea.
Mourinho is willing to let Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen leave Spurs if they will not sign contracts past the end of this season. It remains to be seen whether his arrival provokes a change of heart from any of the trio.
One player who is likely to benefit from the arrival of Mourinho is Eric Dier, who the Portuguese tried to sign for Manchester United.
Mourinho has been keen on Dier’s attributes for a number of years and the 25-year-old, who grew up in Portugal, is likely to get an extended run after falling down Pochettino’s pecking order.
Pochettino was angered in December 2016 when he caught Mourinho and Dier chatting in Portuguese and laughing together in the Old Trafford tunnel after United had beaten Spurs.
Mourinho’s appointment will inevitably lead to speculation linking Gareth Bale with a return to Spurs, but sources close to the Welshman do not believe there is any chance of a move materialising.
Mourinho took his first training session on Thursday afternoon ahead of Tottenham’s trip to West Ham United on Saturday lunchtime.
Levy, who was due to be in the United States, is thought to have changed his plans so he can be at the London Stadium.
Tottenham go into the game in 14th place in the Premier League, but Mourinho has promised he will quickly have the team climbing the table. They are 11 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and 20 behind leaders Liverpool.
Other than preparing his squad, Mourinho has made Joao Sacramento his assistant manager in a wide-ranging shake-up of the club’s back room team.
Sacramento has joined Mourinho’s new staff from Lille, where he held the same position under Christophe Galtier. The Portuguese was previously a technical assistant under Leonardo Jardim at Monaco, before moving to Lille in January 2017.
Mourinho has been forced to appoint an entirely new football staff after Tottenham sacked assistant Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D’Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez, along with Pochettino.