By Harry Sykes
Jose Fonte has revealed to the Mail why he has been so impressed by Tottenham’s road map to Premier League success.
West Ham and Spurs have a bitter rivalry fuelled by boardroom antipathy and a historic disregard predominantly due to geography.
But that has not stopped Hammers’ January signing Fonte being an admirer of the north Londoners’ gradual teambuilding approach which he says is the best in the league.
West Ham have ambitions to break into the elite and build on the kind of success most notable in last season’s seventh-placed league finish.
“It can be done,” Fonte told the Mail. “Leicester won the title with unity, a little bit of luck, a good manager. They believed in something.
“You can do it the Manchester City way and spend a lot of money. Or you can do it like Tottenham, spend a little bit of money, add quality, not astronomical signings but strong signings. Don’t let the most important players leave. They’ve been close. That might be perhaps the best approach. We’ve got to find our way picking the best examples.”
Spurs are second in the league ahead of their home clash against Fonte’s former club Southampton on Sunday, a distant 10 points adrift of Chelsea.
Antonio Conte’s side have spent big as they close in on their second league title in three years, while Tottenham have far greater financial constraints.
Yet Fonte has been impressed by the way that Mauricio Pochettino and company have tied down the key players to long-terms contracts, with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose among those who have penned new deals this season.
In other Tottenham news, Romelu Lukaku has delivered a remarkable put-down of Spurs talisman Harry Kane.