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Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur transfer review

Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:04 IST

How have Tottenham Hotspur and Pochettino fared in the transfer window?
How have Tottenham Hotspur and Pochettino fared in the transfer window?

The 2018-19 season was quite strange for Tottenham Hotspur. For a major chunk of the campaign, they looked the team best equipped to challenge the tearaway duo of Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League. Yet, when push came to shove, Spurs wilted under pressure, only to concede the initiative to their northern rivals.

However, just when their season seemed on the brink of capitulation, they found an extra gear, leaving the footballing fraternity stunned as they embarked on a remarkable run to the summit clash of European club football.

On the way, they left Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in their wake, with each victory achieved through sheer grit and determination. Yet, as the Lilywhites floated among the clouds, one couldn’t help but wonder how long they would be able to sustain their assault on the Champions League, considering the threadbare nature of their squad.

And, rather painfully, that particular prophecy came to fruition on the occasion when being spotless was the norm. Spurs ran out of steam in the final of Europe’s premier club competition and eventually, fell timidly to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

However, the run to the final highlighted an asset that might not be appreciated quite as well these days. Mauricio Pochettino had a reliable, stable and most importantly, a trustworthy squad at his disposal, comprising a bunch of players who wouldn’t mind dying for their manager or the crest on their jerseys.

Thus, many believed that the 2019 off-season represented a crucial juncture in the club’s pursuit of catapulting itself as one of Europe’s elite. The Lilywhites boasted a solid enough foundation and now needed the right acquisitions to take them a level higher.

But, have Tottenham managed to do so over the course of the summer transfer window?

A further glimpse at their transfer activity might just elucidate the answer to the question posed above. 

Players bought by Tottenham: Tanguy Ndombele and Jack Clarke

Tanguy Ndombele could prove to be an excellent signing for Spurs
Tanguy Ndombele could prove to be an excellent signing for Spurs

On a positive note, Spurs managed to fill up the space above, rather than keeping it empty, akin to the business (or lack of) they conducted in the summer of 2018. And considering the Lilywhites faithful would’ve been happy with any kind of signing, the club’s acquisition of Tanguy Ndombele would’ve sent them into a dizzying frenzy.

To put things into perspective, the signing of the Frenchman was only the second the North London club had made since January 2018. (The first came a few days prior in the form of Jack Clark)

The strapping midfielder, on his arrival on English shores, would add a lot more bite to Spurs’ midfield and could even act as the ideal replacement for Moussa Dembele. Alongside his compatriot, Moussa Sissoko, Ndombele could forge a strong partnership in the centre of the park with both possessing an incredible work-rate.

Moreover, the Lilywhites looked jaded towards the end of last season and their paucity of options in central midfield forced Danny Rose to deputise in the said position. Thus, the newly acquired Frenchman would also add depth to a previously under-stocked department and inject it with some much needed power and panache.

Spurs’ other arrival of the summer, Clarke, impressed for Leeds last term and was subsequently snapped up by the Premier League outfit in the summer. However, as part of the deal, the Englishman was loaned back to The Whites for the entirety of the 2019-20 season. 

Potential signings for Spurs: Paulo Dybala, Giovani Lo Celso, Ryan Sessegnon

Dybala could be moving to England
Dybala could be moving to England

The Lilywhites have been linked with plenty of players over the course of the past few months and after the uninspiring summer of 2018, one couldn’t really blame them.

However, at this juncture, the deals that are most likely to pull through would revolve around Paulo Dybala, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon.

A few days ago, Dybala was reportedly on the verge of a sensational transfer to Manchester United. Yet, that particular rumour didn’t quite proceed as planned with the Red Devils apparently baulking at Juventus’ asking price and the player’s demands.

However, reports yesterday suggested that Tottenham had managed to break through the Old Lady’s resistance and had even agreed a fee in principle. The news though, has to be taken with a pinch of salt as several complications remain for it to be wrapped up. The Argentine forward’s wage demands took United aback and thus, one feels that Spurs would do well to match the player’s financial ambitions.

Moreover, the player’s image rights could be a potential hindrance and another obstacle the Lilywhites might have to negotiate around.

As for Giovani Lo Celso, the midfielder had been actively touted to move to the Premier League with Spurs. But, in recent weeks, that saga has cooled down a touch and it remains to be seen if they can actually pull this deal off.

Ryan Sessegnon, on the other hand, too seemed destined to move to North London. Yet, nothing of the sort has materialised so far. 

Transfer window rating: 7/10

Pochettino has played his transfer cards well
Pochettino has played his transfer cards well

Spurs have done quite well to identify the issues that plagued their squad and they consequently acquired Ndombele, a young star who could go on to carve a niche for himself in the English top-flight.  

Moreover, they’ve smartly managed to recoup around €30m from the sales of Kieran Trippier and Vincent Janssen to Atletico Madrid and Monterrey respectively.

However, having said that, Spurs haven’t gotten on board a replacement for the aforementioned Trippier, meaning they might have to start with a potential right back duo consisting of the inexperienced Kyle Walker-Peters and the volatile Serge Aurier.

And while they’ve managed to string together a decent transfer window, one feels that the lack of defensive additions could just undermine the shrewd bits of business.           

Published 07 Aug 2019, 21:01 IST
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