Opinion: The Spurs rebuild – and why keeping Harry Kane changes everything

Tottenham are currently stuck in a position where they have a mix and match of players, signed by multiple different managers with differing styles of play and formations. It is a disjointed squad, due to constant change and the failure of recent managers at the club.  

We have seen the end of the Poch era, then Mourinho, Nuno for a short stint and now Conte, all within the past four years. Each time the club has failed to give the manager proper backing in the transfer market.  

This has led to a series of managers coming in, trying to implement their style of play and philosophy within the squad, and consistently failing as they have not been given the necessary means and support to do so.  

Poch gave a famous interview with Gary Lineker in which he stated: ‘we have an amazing house but you need to put the furniture. 

Lineker: “But you have some lovely furniture.”

Poch “No, of course, but if you have a lovely house maybe you need better furniture for it….. some of it is ugly.”

With a lack of consistent leadership at the top, players have come and gone and, unless there is a clear philosophy and long-term plan, this turnover is likely to continue. 


 I believe one of the biggest misconceptions about last summer was that we did a good job of starting the clear out of players deemed to be no longer good enough for the squad. Yes, we got a lot of them out of the door, but on loan transfers.  

Rodon, Winks, Lo Celso, Reguilon and Ndombele are all on loan (TransferMarket) and will be back, come July, for Tottenham to deal with again. None of these five players have impressed at the clubs they are on loan to, at least not enough to justify a signing, aside from Lo Celso, perhaps.  

Of the current team, the players who are under-impressing, in my opinion, are Hugo Lloris, Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty, Japhet Tanganga, Ryan Sessengon and Davinson Sanchez.

I would possibly include Ben Davies and Eric Dier in this group too, but I would keep both of these for an extra year as a precaution. They would provide decent cover for new signings.  

 Main positions in the 11 that need upgrading: 

The first position that needs upgrading this summer is the man between the sticks. Hugo Lloris has run his race at Spurs and has cost us a few too many times this season.  

He has always had the potential to make a mistake but, until this season, I would say they were rare occurrences, and you could accept these because of his brilliant shot-stopping. However, this year these mistakes have become too prominent and when added to his inability to claim a cross and the fact that he does not look comfortable on the ball, I feel it is time for him to be replaced. 

 I would personally look to David Raya as my ideal replacement for Lloris, he is young for a keeper at 27 and has looked a quality player for Brentford. Spurs have shown interest and I believe we should follow through on this interest and sign him in the summer (Guardian).

Next, the focus is on the central defenders. We need to sign two new centre-backs, one for the left-sided role and one for the central role. Dier, Lenglet and Davies rotating in these positions has cost us dearly this season and none of the three are good enough to start for us.  

I would look at Bastoni again in the summer to see if we can prise him away from Inter and if not, I would turn to someone like Ndicka from Frankfurt, who I rate highly.  

For central centre half, I would look at Joachim Anderson from Crystal Palace, who is a quality player with an unbelievable range of passing.  

Right-wing back and a creative midfielder/forward were also top priorities, and although Pedro Porro has come in, the latter is still a concern. 

My picks for creative midfielder would be James Maddison or Eberechi Eze. These two would be ideal as they are quality players who also fill the homegrown quota and would provide a completely different dynamic and flexibility to the squad.  

I believe every player mentioned would fit with the profile that Spurs should be looking to include in the squad. Each is comfortable on the ball, good physically, possesses a strong work ethic and has a professional attitude.

These qualities should reduce the time needed to settle in, get them up to speed very quickly and ensure this squad turns into a very competitive one, ably led by Conte.   

Ultimately, If he leaves in the summer, I believe that these players would be able to adapt to a different style of management, given their versatile qualities.  

 Why Harry Kane staying changes everything: 

Harry Kane is Tottenham’s most creative player, their best finisher and the most important player in the team. Replacing him in the summer would be an absolute nightmare for so many reasons.  

Firstly, the striker market is not looking good at present, with the top-quality ones who may be available likely to be out of Tottenham’s budget and reach. 

Secondly, competition is intense for the best strikers. Spurs will likely be competing with top clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea for this small pool of talent. 

Added to that, the quality of signings in other positions will be adversely affected with so much effort and focus on hiring the right man to replace Harry Kane. 

His departure would also impact the quality and level of signings we are able to pull off – it cannot be underestimated how big a pull Harry Kane is for players looking to join Tottenham. 

If Kane decides he wants out, and Tottenham decide to sell, we could get around £70m for him (TransferMarket). This would be much-needed money for the club. 

We bought Richarlison last summer for £60m and he can play upfront, and with the additional revenue from a Kane sale, there would be money to spend on other areas of the squad.

Whilst it is far from ideal, in my opinion playing Richarlison would be the best way to work with the squad should Kane leave, and additionally give the opportunity to bring in a less expensive backup to Richarlison, with the latter in the main role up top and seeing how he deals with that.  

However, I think we would be significantly worse off if that were to happen.

Don’t misunderstand me, I like Richarlison, but he doesn’t come close to the level Kane is currently playing at, and he would be a big downgrade and this is why it will be vital for the rebuild of the club that Kane stays at Tottenham.

The squad must be built around him, players will be keener to join knowing that we have one of the best players in the world at the club, and the summer won’t be overtaken by the inevitable saga and fallout of Kane leaving. Also, on a personal note, I would be very sad if Harry left……to echo Pep Guardiola: ‘we cannot replace him’. 

Harry Kane
(Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

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