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Sport

Mourinho says signing striker is top priority

LONDON (Reuters) - Signing a support striker for Harry Kane is Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho’s priority ahead of the new Premier League season which kicks off this weekend.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Pre Season Friendly - Tottenham Hotspur v Ipswich Town - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - August 22, 2020 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho, as the friendly is played behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

England captain Kane shouldered a heavy burden at Tottenham last season as the club’s only true centre forward and suffered a serious hamstring injury on New Year’s Day.

While Kane, who scored 18 league goals in the 2019-20 campaign, has recovered and will lead the attack at home to Everton on Sunday, Mourinho says he is in urgent need of a backup option.

“I want, I need a striker, but I want to make it very, very clear that the club -- the structure above me -- knows that I need a striker and also wants a striker,” Mourinho told reporters via a Zoom conference call on Friday.

“Are we going to get one? I honestly believe so. For the balance of the squad, the team needs it because at this moment the squad is getting very balanced, with different options for different positions.”

Tottenham, under Mauricio Pochettino and now Mourinho, have often set up to play with a sole striker with the likes of Son Heung-min, who bagged 11 league goals last season, in support.

Mourinho’s first pre-season at Tottenham has been relatively quiet on the transfer front with full back Matt Doherty signing from Wolverhampton Wanderers and midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg arriving from Southampton. Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart also joined on a free transfer.

But the squad looks short of making a sustained challenge for a top-four finish, having slipped to sixth last season.

“We realise that more than ever we need that. So yes we’re working on it,” he said. “We cannot go to the market and spend a fortune on players. But we all, we all, I want to make that clear, are working hard to give good balance to the squad and that good balance would be to get another striker.”

Mourinho said left back Danny Rose could move to Serie A.

“It’s very difficult for him to stay here with us when Ben Davies is such an important left back, (Ryan) Sessegnon is an investment by the club that we want to improve,” he said.

“So it’s very difficult for Danny. If he goes to Serie A and Genoa I think it’ll be very good for him.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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