The January transfer window was a relatively busy one for Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur; Gedson Fernandes and Steven Bergwijn joined the club while Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker-Peters all departed for pastures new.
The new signings have already had an impact, and Tottenham are currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak, but if Spurs and Mourinho are to really push for a Premier League title challenge in 2020-21, there can be no doubt that the Portuguese boss will need to strengthen in other areas in the summer transfer window.
Here are 3 positions Jose Mourinho needs to bring in reinforcements for before 2020-21.
Right-back has been a problem position at Spurs since before Mourinho’s arrival in November; Mauricio Pochettino sold his previous first-choice Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid in the summer and the club failed to sign a replacement, leaving the Argentine with a gap that needed to be filled.
The rumoured plan was to deploy Juan Foyth in the role, but when the youngster entered the season with an injury, Kyle Walker-Peters was instead used before he too picked up an injury. Pochettino then used the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Davinson Sanchez as makeshift right-backs, while Mourinho has instead gone back to Serge Aurier – distrusted by Pochettino – as his first choice.
Aurier clearly has talent; the 6 assists he’s registered this season make for impressive reading, but he’s also inconsistent and can be extremely rash, as we’ve seen this season when he gave away penalties in matches against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Therefore, it should remain a priority of Mourinho’s this summer to sign a new right-back – particularly if Walker-Peters does not return to North London – in order to provide the club with a more steady option than Aurier.
In an ideal world the Ivorian would remain at Tottenham too – meaning Spurs would have two options in the position, just as they did when Trippier was at the club.
Mourinho was expected to rope in a new striker during the January transfer window after losing talismanic forward Harry Kane to a serious hamstring injury, but despite the pursuit of the likes of Krzysztof Piatek, Willian Jose and Olivier Giroud, only Steven Bergwijn – a wide forward rather than a traditional striker – made his way to North London.
Kane will be back before the start of 2020-21 – in fact he may well return prior to the end of the current campaign – but the fact remains that Spurs have lacked another option to spearhead their attack since the departure of Fernando Llorente in the summer of 2019. Therefore, it’s absolutely imperative that Mourinho fill this hole in his squad in the next transfer window.
Clearly, Spurs do not need a new first-choice striker; Kane is under a long-term contract with the club and is arguably the best in the world in the position at the current time. But while he has averaged over 40 games per season since his rise to fame 5 years ago, it’s clear that at times, more rest would definitely be a good thing for him.
Spurs have coped without him before by deploying Son Heung Min as a central striker – but neither the South Korean nor Lucas Moura really fill the role of a proper target-man like Kane does, particularly if Mourinho continues to have his side play in a more direct fashion. Therefore, signing an alternative option to the England captain must be one of his priorities.
For as short as Tottenham are at right-back, the other full-back berth is as big a problem for Mourinho’s side right now. Coming into 2019-20, Spurs had two clear options at left-back; Ben Davies and Danny Rose, both proven international-level players, but things have changed dramatically since then.
Firstly, Davies has been struck down with a long-term knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Mourinho’s arrival at the club in November. The Welshman is expected to return soon, but when he does, he’ll no longer have Rose as his primary source of competition.
The England international has departed in a loan move to Newcastle – one that could well become permanent in the summer.
Mourinho has been able to deploy the versatile youngster Japhet Tanganga in the role as of late, and the 20-year-old academy product has definitely performed well, but the truth is he’s not a natural left-back and will be more likely to evolve into the natural replacement for centre-back Jan Vertonghen, who looks likely to leave North London in the summer.
That means a new left-back is almost certainly needed; while Davies is a fine player and is in the prime of his career at 26 years old, he’s also never played more than 30 Premier League games during a season for Spurs.
Could he become Mourinho’s first choice? Definitely – but another left-back must be another summer priority for the Portuguese.