Mauricio Pochettino has addressed the future of Spurs outcast Andros Townsend as rumours over an imminent January exit continue to gather pace. The speedy winger has fallen completely out of favour at White Hart Lane this season, failing to make a single Premier League start and only appearing seven times across all competitions.
Townsend has not played a single minute of senior action since a Europa League defeat at Anderlecht in late October. A heated argument with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner at Aston Villa 11 days later led to the player being temporarily dropped from the first-team squad. He has impressed for the club's U21 side of late, however, notching twice in quick succession during a nine-goal thriller against Chelsea and providing another eye-catching display in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
With his days at Tottenham seemingly numbered, there has been no shortage of transfer speculation surrounding the England winger. Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has previously gone public with admiration for his talents, while recent reports from The Guardian claim that rival suitors Newcastle United have seen an initial bid worth £10m ($14.1m) rejected as Tottenham stand firm on their sizeable £14m valuation.
"I am not involved in the negotiations, I am the head coach," Pochettino was quoted as saying by the Hampstead and Highgate Express during a pre-match press conference held prior to Tottenham's FA Cup third-round replay against Leicester City on 20 January.
"It's true that Andros is in a position where he doesn't play too much for us but all players are involved in our squad. They only need to wait. Andros has not played in the last few months and he wants to play. If some facility arrives [to leave] the decision is always from the club. Today it's all about rumours, there's nothing clear."
Another Tottenham academy graduate who has appeared surplus to requirements of late is Nabil Bentaleb. The Algerian midfielder was sidelined for almost three months after sustaining an ankle injury in August, but has played just twice as a substitute since making his return during a 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against Tanzania in November.
"From the beginning [of the season] he had a [injury] problem," Pochettino explained. "He missed 17 or 18 games with injury and the team has grown up. Different players have had the chance to play and show their quality, like Eric Dier or Mousa Dembele or Tom Carroll. We have a lot of players in midfield.
"But we keep a very good relationship between Nabil and us and, if he works like he has done in the last few weeks, he will always have the facility to play and show his real qualities. I think it's only about time to show again that he deserves to play. It's always about football decisions and performance."