It’s easy to forget now, but Harry Winks wasn’t meant to go down this path. He was meant to be the next star out of the famous Tottenham Hotspur academy; a midfield general that would patrol the centre of Spurs’ pitch for years to come.
He’s 25 now — and it’s safe to say his story has been one of relative success, but ultimately stagnation and disappointment too.
Look, he’s made 163 appearances for his boyhood club, featured and scored for England, and also formed a decent-enough relationship with Moussa Sissoko – a big component in Spurs famously getting into the 2019 Champions League final.
And to be honest, he was one of the best performers in a white shirt that day in Madrid too, fighting until the very end.
So, it’s important not to be overly dramatic. However, it’s definitely not a far-fetched statement to suggest that Winks is now in the lowest place he’s been at since breaking into the team. He is probably the fifth choice in the pecking order.
The problem with Winks is that many of the bad traits that were on show when he was a promising graduate haven’t been put behind him or developed.
His passing is still too slow and safe, not penetrative enough – especially when compared to the likes of Tanguy Ndombele. His tackling style is also still too rash and sloppy. He gets out-powered far too often.
So, this all leads to the question: should Spurs cash in on Winks?
Many would answer without hesitation, especially because he is at a good age and English: the ultimate concoction for a player to be sold at a higher price than his actual stock.
£20 million? £25 million? Maybe £30 million. In my opinion, it’s not completely unreasonable. Especially when he was linked with a £40 million move to Man City in August, even though no one quite believed that.
Remember, through all of Daniel Levy’s flaws, getting good money for his players is one of his best attributes.
So, if Spurs can squirm this range of money from Winks, it could be extremely useful when it comes to reinvesting in a squad that — in all honesty — needs it.
Centre-half feels is a massive issue. Every player in that position arguably isn’t up to the standard of a top-four, title-chasing side.
Lille are facing financial issues, so talented defender Sven Botman could be available for a cut-price. Winks out and Botman in would be a great deal.
If Daniel Levy decides to go down the more ambitious route, the £20 million or so gained from Winks’ departure could go a long way for a Milan Skriniar or an Ibrahima Konaté.
Maybe a like for like replacement could be the route Spurs go down, then someone like Marcel Sabitzer. He’s 26-years-old and a lot more developed as a centre midfielder.
Whoever Spurs deem to use Winks’ money for, the sad truth is that the funds they could potentially gain seem to outweigh what the academy graduate brings to the team.
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