'Crazy' transfer spending adds pressure for Tottenham's rivals - Vertonghen
NASHVILLE -- Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has piled the pressure on the club's big-spending Premier League rivals, saying there are four or five teams "who have to become champions" this season.
While Spurs are the only top-flight club yet to make a summer signing, the rest of last season's top seven have all bought at least one player for £30 million or more, while Manchester City's outlay passed the £200m mark with the £52m capture of Benjamin Mendy from Monaco.
Their manager, Pep Guardiola, has said they might not be finished yet.
Last season's champions Chelsea and sixth-placed Manchester United have also spent over £100m, and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and manager Mauricio Pochettino have always been clear that they cannot compete with their rivals in the transfer market.
Vertonghen welcomed the extravagance of the teams around Tottenham because it increases expectation - and makes it even sweeter when Spurs beat them.
"The way they're spending, a lot of pressure comes on teams," Vertonghen said ahead of Spurs' International Champions Cup match against City in Nashville on Saturday.
"You've seen how much money they've spent in the window with one month to go -- it's crazy! When you're spending, there's a lot of pressure on the team. I think there are four teams, five teams who have to become champions now.
"That puts great pressure on them and it's what makes the Premier League the best league in the world. It's a great thing to play in it. And I'm happy that everyone has strengthened their team because that makes it so much better when you beat them!"
Spurs finished second last season with a club-record Premier League points total but Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has suggested that there is no pressure on them because expectations are lower -- something firmly disputed by Pochettino on Friday.
Vertonghen believes there is also pressure on Spurs to win a maiden Premier League title this season and says the key is improving their away record -- two points from a possible 15 last season -- against their top-six rivals.
"We've got a lot of pressure on us as well," the Belgian said. "We want to do better than second -- it's something else. We had a great season and now we need to make sure we beat those top teams away from home, like we did at the Lane. I think we have a great team, a young team.
"Obviously we can improve a lot but finally this looks like a preseason where we've got everyone together -- well, almost everyone -- and we can work on things the manager wants us to work on. We've seen lots of improvements already."