Pierre-Emile Højbjerg… It’s genuinely hard to find superlatives to describe him. The Dane was reduced to tears after his side beat the Czech Republic to reach the semi-final of Euro 2020 which fully epitomises him; brave, passionate and lion-hearted.
Hojbjerg played every single minute of Tottenham’s Premier League 20/21 season and every minute of Denmark’s campaign this summer to date. That stat itself shows how integral he is for both club and country. He strikes me as a blend between a traditional midfield anchor, and a modern-day advanced number six.
At 6ft 1, Højbjerg’s physical prowess should not be overlooked. The 25-year-old provides such consistent stability to his side, we’ve even seen him even drop into the Spurs defence to create a back three in possession, giving freedom to his fullbacks and other midfielders. The midfielder is astute, and his reading and understanding of the game is one of a seasoned veteran. He has a sensational skillset to offer.
He was cherished by Jose and loved by Pep. That’s no coincidence at all. He was even given the label by Guardiola as the “Sergio Busquets of Bayern Munich” (talkSPORT). What manager in world football wouldn’t want a Højbjerg on their team? Not many.
I believe Spurs must dip into the market this summer to build around Højbjerg. He has spent time with Ndombélé in a pivot and I am not convinced the understanding between the two is there. Even when a midfield three of Højbjerg, Lo Celso and Ndombélé was present; that never clicked either. There seems to be something lacking in the Spurs midfield. It lacks balance, consistency and we’ve seen a tendency for the opposition to overrun us with ease.
We need to find a midfield dynamic that suits him. I think Højbjerg being that lone defensive midfielder is limiting him, he is more than that and his profile at Spurs so far has been misunderstood. The passing & ball continuity side of his game is quite underrated. Here are three midfielders Spurs should look at to play alongside the Viking:
The 21-year-old from French side Marseille could free up some of the defensive pressure on Højbjerg, Boubacar is someone who can even operate as a centre-back. A ball progressor and elegant player, who also has the defensive discipline and awareness. With his contract expiring with Marseille at the end next season, his agent has claimed a fee of €25m could secure a deal for the midfielder (Le Phoceen). Fits Spurs to a tee.
After yet another impressive international tournament for Portugal, Sanches in my eyes is one of the most promising midfielders on the scene right now; efficient, composed, and strong technically. Alongside Højbjerg, and even with Ndombele in a midfield 3, that could be a fantastic combination. He’s also a Mendes client which could work in Tottenham’s favour.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is someone who I’ve kept an eye on for a few months now, he is excellent in between the lines and that fluid movement could compliment Højbjerg well. He’s a very neat creator and the midfield rotation between them two could be a match made in heaven.
To conclude, there’s no denying the importance of Højbjerg – the performances we’ve seen from the man himself of recent have been superb. I certainly believe we’ll see another great season from him under new Spurs head coach Nuno Espirito Santo.
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