Nuno Espirito Santo has ruled another Gareth Bale return to Tottenham Hotspur but admits the club needs new signings to improve.
Bale had a mixed season on loan back at Spurs from Real Madrid, scoring 16 goals but struggling for regular starts in the Premier League under Jose Mourinho.
It is expected that he will remain in Madrid next season and Espirito Santo emphatically drew a line under Bale’s time at the club, simply stating: “He will not be part of our squad.”
The Portuguese is excited about the squad of players at his disposal at Tottenham but admits that after a seventh-place finish last season they need to make the right signings to improve.
“I believe that we have a very good squad – a talented squad with good players. They need improvement of course because I believe that every player can become better,” he said.
“At the same time, I believe at the same time it is not easy to improve our squad but we need to, so we need to be very clinical on the players that join us and can help us.
“Yes, we need to bring in some things that we don’t already have. We have to bring in people who besides being a good player is a good human being because that is where everything starts.”
The Portuguese was unveiled this month as Mourinho’s successor, with the club’s long and winding 72-day search finally coming to an end.
The former Wolves boss was not on the club’s original list of candidates and only came into the frame following the arrival of new managing director of football Fabio Paratici.
Even then other managers were spoken to, with advanced talks held with Paulo Fonseca, before Espirito Santo was appointed just a few days before pre-season began.
football.london understands that Paratici convinced chairman Daniel Levy to hire the Portuguese after showing him footage of his Valencia team that swept into the top four in La Liga before his move to Wolves.
Espirito Santo was asked whether that had concerned him that he was not first choice and whether he understood some of the fans’ nervousness about his appointment.
“I cannot speak about what happened. What I can tell you is that I am so proud,” he said. “The moment I had the phone call that I had a chance to have a meeting with Tottenham, everything changed. Everything in my perspective changed.
“I am where I wanted to be. Where I wished to be. So this is what I’m delighted of.
“The concerns around the club, it’s normal. All the expectations around big clubs are huge and you have to be prepared for that, but the way you prepare yourself is to ignore all the noise, focus on the things you have to control and what I can control is to prepare the players and this is what I’m doing on a daily basis. Every moment of the training session I’m looking to find the best way.”
Espirito Santo had already clearly stated that Harry Kane was not going to leave the club and while he would not reveal what was said about the England captain in meetings he had had, he reiterated his view.
“I had a lot of meetings, we spoke about a lot of things, but one thing is for sure: what we speak about between us, stays between us,” he explained.
“What I can say about that is Harry Kane is one of the best football players in the world and he’s with us, he’s our player, he’s Tottenham’s player. That can make us very proud.”
Espirito Santo explained what he sees as the “non-negotiable” aspects of life for players at his version of Tottenham Hotspur.
“Character, attitude, discipline, commitment, relentlessness, and then talent,” he said. “Yes, yes [I’ve seen that in these players] and I’m very pleased and this isn’t negotiable. This will stick for us.”
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He added: “I’ve been talking to all the players, every chance I have. It’s the way we work – during training sessions, trying to give advice that we think is appropriate in that moment.
“We are delighted with the players that we work with, we count on each and every one of them and to make them better. If you see a photo of [me speaking to] one player, it doesn’t mean that I don’t speak with other players.
“I speak with every player when I think I should, but now their job is to commit themselves and it’s hard. It’s hard. Training sessions are difficult, but they believe that it’s necessary, it’s required and they are doing it so well.”
One player the new Tottenham head coach has not been able to speak to yet is Kane and he is holding off from contacting anyone who has been on international duty.
“I didn’t speak to any of the players with national teams, no one, because I believe if I was on the other side it would be disrespectful,” he said.
“I think the players in the national team should be focused on the national team. [Harry Kane] has a hard job to do, totally committed to the national team, obviously, so this is why I decided not to speak to any of them.
“I will speak when they arrive. This is the right moment in our own building, face to face, sitting down and to prepare our future together.”
One such player is Son Heung-min and Espirito Santo revealed that the attacker will able to link up with the Spurs squad “very soon”, after the South Korean star returned to the UK this month.
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