Despite Jose Mourinho’s various statements that his Tottenham Hotspur side don’t need to delve into the transfer market this January, it’s pretty clear at this stage that if they are to qualify for the Champions League for the 5th season in a row, their squad needs some reinforcements.
Tottenham have been struck with various injuries this season, and right now they’re without key striker Harry Kane, as well as midfielder Moussa Sissoko. Add in the fact that they didn’t fill all of the holes in their squad in the summer, and everything points to them needing at least one or two new signings as soon as possible.
Mourinho has stated that if the “right players” come along then Spurs could make a move, and it appears that these 3 players could be available.
Here are 3 players who could sign for Tottenham Hotspur during the January transfer window.
#1 Gedson Fernandes
Tottenham have a lot of midfielders in their squad, but it still feels like they’re missing something in the centre of their team. Record signing Tanguy Ndombele has struggled for fitness, Giovani Lo Celso has only just begun to settle in, and while Harry Winks has performed admirably in most of his appearances, Christian Eriksen has clearly checked out of the club while Moussa Sissoko is sidelined with a knee injury for the foreseeable future.
It’s the injury to Sissoko that makes Tottenham’s reported move for Benfica’s Gedson Fernandes make so much sense. Current reports suggest that Fernandes could be on his way to North London on an 18-month loan deal – with the potential for a permanent move later down the line.
The 21-year-old Portuguese international has been out of favour at Benfica in recent months, but he’s extremely talented, and most notably, he’d provide Spurs with the abilities that their midfield has been lacking since Sissoko’s injury.
Like the Frenchman, Fernandes is excellent at carrying the ball out of tight situations with great dribbling skills, and he’d also provide Mourinho with some bite in midfield as he’s a strong tackler.
But the Portuguese appears to be superior to Sissoko when it comes to his passing range and most notably in shooting, an area in which the French international struggles.
Basically, this is a move that would work for all parties – particularly when you consider Spurs would pay a large fee for the midfielder later on. And at 21 years old, Fernandes could be moulded by Mourinho into an effective player for Spurs for years to come.
#2 Krzysztof Piatek
Tottenham were already looking light up front at the start of this season after they allowed veteran Fernando Llorente to leave the club following the expiration of his contract, but up to the turn of the year it hadn’t caught up with them.
With the advent of Harry Kane’s hamstring injury, though – with the England captain likely out until late April – it’s now come back to haunt them.
Spurs did play for periods without Kane last year, relying on a mixture of Llorente and Son Heung Min – but the Korean’s best position is clearly as a wide forward or winger rather than as an out-an-out striker. That means that Mourinho’s side clearly need some more firepower – and it looks like they’re turning to Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek.
Piatek currently plays for AC Milan and has goalscoring pedigree – hitting 13 in his first 8 games for Genoa in 2018-19 - but the Polish international has been struggling this season in particular, scoring just 4 goals in his 18 games in Serie A, and with the arrival of Swedish veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the San Siro, he’s suddenly found himself the odd man out.
But his signing could still make sense for Spurs; he’s just 24 years old and likely hasn’t hit his prime yet, but more importantly, Piatek himself has stated that he models his own game on Kane, and his style of play appears to be similar.
The Polish hitman can play as a target-man of sorts, but his movement off the ball, his reaction time and his ability to drop back to involve himself in build-up play makes him a larger threat, and thus he’d be an excellent choice to step into Kane’s shoes while the England captain is injured.
Would Piatek be willing to play as backup for Kane going forward? That’s a question mark, but it’s also an issue that could be resolved at some point in the future. At the current time, he’d be a risk worth taking for Mourinho.
#3 Max Aarons
Another area Tottenham have struggled this season has been at right-back. Kieran Trippier – their former first choice in the position – was sold to Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019, but Spurs didn’t replace him, feeling they had the squad strength to cover. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.
Serge Aurier has remained his usual inconsistent self; Kyle Walker-Peters picked up an injury in the early part of the season and now appears on the verge of a move away from the club, while Mauricio Pochettino’s idea to deploy Juan Foyth in the spot seemed to vanish when the Argentine boss was fired. And notably, experiments with Davinson Sanchez and Moussa Sissoko in the position failed too.
That means Spurs need to find a new right-back quickly, and one player they may turn to is Norwich City’s Max Aarons, who has been linked with a move to North London this month. The 20-year-old had an outstanding season in the EFL Championship in 2018-19, and while the Canaries have struggled to adjust to Premier League life, Aarons has performed admirably in his 19 appearances.
While not the finished product right now, the England U-21 international would likely provide more stability than Aurier at right-back, and would clearly be a more natural fit than Spurs’ other options.
He’s strong in the tackle and scores well in terms of defensive statistics, and while he has yet to contribute to any Premier League goals, 6 assists in the Championship last season bodes well.
Is he likely to move? Norwich’s boss Daniel Farke has recently issued a “hands off” threat to interested clubs, but the Canaries also seem destined for relegation – so if the player were to demand a move, it’s hard to imagine them being able to stand in his way. Current reports suggest he’d cost around £30m, which would likely be within Tottenham’s ball-park.