Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has undoubtedly prevented Tottenham Hotspur from falling into a mid-table scrap this season.
The Dane had an abysmal performance in his debut against Everton at the start of the season but, since then, Hojbjerg has proved a more than valuable asset for the North-London club.
Hojbjerg sealed his move to Spurs for a reported £15million fee last summer. This was following the departure of Kyle Walker-Peters on a permanent move to Southampton,
At the time, both Spurs and Southampton thought they were getting the better deal. Walker-Peters had performed admirably on loan on the South Coast, meanwhile, Hojbjerg was sat on the bench after declaring he wished to leave.
From a Spurs perspective, they were drafting in a player with leadership qualities. Hojbjerg had previously been the Saints captain for two years.
As well as this, Daniel Levy had negotiated an impressive deal for Walker-Peters. Once his £12 million fee had been considered, Spurs were only spending around £3 million to secure the services of the Danish international.
Transfer dealings aside, the impact of Hojbjerg on the pitch has added a much-needed sense of stability to the heart of midfield.
The 25-year-old tops the charts for successful tackles in the Premier League this season. He has completed 82 so far, ahead of the pack, with Luke Ayling coming in at second with 80 (Premier League).
Continuously, the Dane has completed the third-most passes this season, behind Rodri and Gundogan of runaway leaders Manchester City (Premier League). This again implies his importance to Spurs, as he is essential in progressing play, as well as retaining the ball.
The stats could go on and on. Hojbjerg ranks in the top five for overall touches of the ball, minutes played, and appearances.
There is no doubting the significant impact the former Bayern Munich player has had for Spurs under Mourinho this season. He is rarely rested, and often called from the bench to bail Spurs out of trouble in the lesser games.
Combine his statistics with his traits, and you have an answer as to why he is adored by so many. This is despite being at the club for less than a year.
His value as a player is unquestionable, but what makes him the bargain of the season?
His value as an attacking threat should not be overlooked here. The Dane has recorded one goal and three assists in his 30 appearances in the league (transfermrkt), not bad for a holding midfielder. Nevertheless, it is his defensive attributes that make him a stand-out.
Take out his performances against Everton this season (must be a bogey team for him) and you are left with arguably the most consistent player in the Premier League.
Having started all 30 games for Spurs in the league, his ability to initiate transition phases and put his team on the front foot is exceptional.
Furthermore, the man born in Copenhagen has the skillset to still contribute when Spurs do go forward. You need only look at Spurs’ fifth goal against Manchester United in October.
Hojbjerg was occupying his usual position in front of the defence but behind the rest of the midfield. He spotted Serge Aurier making a forward run down the right channel as the ball was played to him and the Dane executed a perfect first-time pass to split the defence.
West Ham fans may argue that Vladimir Coufal or Tomas Soucek should own the title of ‘bargain of the season’, however, if you were to remove those players from their club, you get the feeling that West Ham could still perform to a similar level that they have been this campaign.
If you look towards Tottenham, then you may have already seen the impact on their shape and play without Hojbjerg. The midfielder has made more interceptions than anyone else at the club, and without him, the team lacks direction.
Additionally, Hojbjerg’s was absent from the squad who were dumped out of the Europa League recently. This only further backs up Jose Mourinho’s comments about the Dane he made earlier in the season.
As reported by Goal, Mourinho stated “the guy is so simple in everything he does with the ball. And I think he’s a phenomenal player.”
The stats, alongside his transfer fee, and the generally positive impact he has brought to the squad, must be considered. There is certainly an argument to suggest that Hojbjerg is the ‘bargain of the season’.
It may be due to his position that he goes under the radar of many observers. In reality, he does a very similar role to that of Ngolo Kante and Declan Rice.
To mention his name amongst these players suggests the importance of Hojbjerg. It cannot be underestimated how imperative it is that Spurs keep him fit and playing regularly.
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