With the January transfer window now a distant memory, Tottenham Hotspur will be starting to plan their summer transfer business.
With the departures of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli and Bryan Gil in January, Spurs fans could be forgiven for expecting a number of incoming transfers, especially in the midfield area. However, this is not how things work at Hotspur Way.
Fabio Paratici’s connections within his old club Juventus helped facilitate the deadline day double swoop for Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski.
The duo have impressed with performances thus far and both played important parts in the dramatic last-gasp victory against Manchester City on Saturday evening.
Whilst both players improve the quality of the squad, they are not the answer to the lack of creativity that Spurs have suffered with in recent seasons.
Spurs boss Antonio Conte’s preferred formation of 3-4-3 does not place emphasis on having a traditional playmaker in behind the striker, instead, it relies on pace, power and accurate crossing from the flanks.
However, if Spurs were to add an attacking midfielder to their ranks, Conte could play a 3-5-2 formation with a more advanced midfielder behind Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.
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Ever since Christian Eriksen left the club for Conte’s Inter Milan in January 2020, Spurs have been missing a consistent player of his profile. The Dane was instrumental in Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side and registered 69 goals and 90 assists in 305 games for the Lilywhites (TransferMarkt).
Attempts to replace the 29-year-old with midfielders such as Ndombele and Lo Celso have done little to reinvigorate Spurs. When you have Harry Kane dropping deep and spraying the ball to runners in behind as your main creative threat, it may be time to explore what the market has to offer.
One player who could restore some inventiveness into the Tottenham midfield is RB Leipzig’s Szoboszlai.
Having suffered a long-term injury after his move to Leipzig from Austrian outfit Salzburg, Szoboszlai was quick to make up for lost time with a goal three minutes into his debut.
An elegant dribbler with sharp vision and an eye for goal, the Hungarian would provide an added attacking spark behind Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.
The slick midfielder would also provide Spurs with a feared dead-ball specialist, meaning Kane would not feel obliged to take every free-kick within shooting range.
It remains to be seen whether Leipzig would part ways with Szoboszlai in the coming months. However, with high sell-on value, the 21-year-old should be considered by Levy and co.
Leipzig’s attacking riches do not lie solely with Szoboszlai. 23-year-old Olmo joined the Bundesliga side in 2020 after attracting numerous suitors whilst playing for Dinamo Zagreb.
Olmo is a constant threat to the opposition. He exhibits exceptional close-control and the ability to breeze past defenders. Coupled with this, his ability to accurately thread through-balls would be a dream for fellow attackers at Spurs.
Olmo’s versatility allows him to be deployed anywhere across the frontline or behind the striker in the number ten role. With 18 appearances and three goals for Spain, he has cemented himself as an integral cog in Luis Enrique’s talented young side (TransferMarkt).
The blonde-haired talisman’s stocks continue to rise, so any potential deal would take all of Paratici’s transfer expertise.
Nothing beats Brazilian attacking flair and Paquetá has that in abundance. The left-footer has registered seven goals and three assists in 23 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon this season, proving his worth after a tough stint at AC Milan (TransferMarkt).
The 24-year-old controls the game effortlessly and takes delight in spraying balls around the park. His appreciation of pass weight and ball-striking technique are facets that make him a deadly opponent.
The former Flamengo man has shown his versatility, having been utilised in both a traditional number ten role, as well as deeper in the centre of the Lyon midfield.
Therefore, the acquisition of Paquetá would allow Conte to play both a 3-5-2 and a 3-4-3 formation. With the Brazilian providing creativity from a deeper role in the latter.
Along with the three aforementioned names, there are many opportunities that the Spurs hierarchy may be keeping an eye on.
For instance, Phillipe Coutinho. The Barcelona man, who is currently on loan at Aston Villa may prove to be an option in the summer transfer window. Some impressive performances under Steven Gerrard will have likely put a number of Premier League clubs on red alert.
Another potential name is Lyon’s Houssem Aouar. The Express claimed that Spurs have previously attempted to lure the Frenchman to N17.
With midfielder Tanguy Ndombele returning to Lyon, the French club may be forced to sell Aouar to raise the funds needed to secure Ndombele on a permanent deal.
One thing is for sure, the introduction of a creative spark in the Spurs midfield is a necessity should Conte’s side compete on all fronts next term.