Our Club made dramatic and interesting moves over the most recent transfer period. Players left, players came, and a slew of players have re-upped. How have the new players fared? How did the players we sent out impact their new teams? And what are the new contracts up to?
Two of last season’s acquisitions, Heung-Min Son and Clinton N’Jie, gave the impression of panic transfers made if the unthinkable (an injury to Harry Kane) happened. The pursuit of Saido Berahino almost wrecked his career. This year was different; the team carefully identified weaknesses, signed cautiously, and went for solid players who fit the system instead of a Manchester United-style cash splash for big names.
The Dearly Departed
The players shipped out this past transfer window either went because Pochettino considered them surplus to requirements or because they just weren’t good enough to stay. There were glaring roster deficiencies at the end of last season and a couple of long term occupants of the manager’s doghouse. The board was largely cleared on both counts.
- Nacer Chadli – part of the Bale haul, was very inconsistent with Spurs. Now lighting up the scoreboard with the Baggies with 3 goals in 4 appearances. Could he have found playing among Son, Kane, Alli and Lamela? Probably not. Got £13M for him; only paid £7M; just about offsets the cash loss on Paulinho.
- Ryan Mason – homegrown product, off to a desperately undermanned Hull City for £13M. Wasn’t up to Pochettino’s standards last season despite some flashes of brilliance. Has a goal in the League Cup but only 2 Premier League appearances for the Tigers. Would most likely never have seen the light of day in Tottenham, he’ll have a chance to develop more in Hull.
- Alex Pritchard – sold to Norwich City for £9M. Has accomplished nothing there. One League Cup start, 3 Championship appearances. Would most likely have been loaned out (again). Either way he needed to get off the treadmill and progress his career.
- Nabil Bentaleb – seemed to be one of the up and comers and he up and went, gone to FC Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga. Went to Pochettino’s doghouse and never returned. Would probably have been buried on the bench.
- DeAndre Yedlin – spent last season out on loan after failing to develop to Pochettino’s satisfaction. Progressed well last year in Sunderland given playing time; sold off to Newcastle United and getting regular playing time in the Championship; scored a goal for the Magpies as well.
- Federico Fazio – proved the manager plays no Argentine favorites, entered Pochettino’s doghouse two seasons ago. Loaned off to AS Roma with an option to buy; has featured in Serie A and been a starter in the Europa League. Would not be on Tottenham’s team today under any circumstances after rejecting transfer to West Brom.
- Nathan Oduwa – Rangers loan expired and back to Spurs. He was subject to some racist abuse at Rangers. Loaned right back out to Peterborough United.
- Luke McGee – was mired in the #3 goalkeeper slot for Spurs. Was loaned out to Peterborough United for playing time and has had an uneven performance there, conceding 5. Would still be stuck as #3, but still Spurs’ best goaltending prospect.
- Clinton N’Jie – Never provided the spark Spurs were looking for as a striker. Comparatively too raw and too small. Pochettino decided to give up and work with someone else. Loaned to Marseille as part of the Nkoudou deal and scored for them.
HELLO! My Name Is…
Pochettino carefully vetted the players brought in during this summer’s window. Of course there was even some drama involved in these acquisitions with players verbally committing elsewhere but signing for Spurs.
- Vincent Janssen – brought in from AZ Alkmaar for £22M as an alternative for Harry Kane. Has struggled to make an impact in limited EPL play, one goal in the League Cup blowout of Gillingham. Hoping he catches a clue or he will go the way of Clinton N’Jie.
- Georges-Kevin Nkoudou – has had limited appearances in a mop up role but seems to bring the stability that Bentaleb and Mason couldn’t. Cost £11M to pry him away from Marseille, but that’s more or less chump change at Spurs’ level.
- Pau Lopez – brought in so Luke McGee could get more playing time in England. Has not gotten off the bench yet. Loaned in from Espanyol. He’s just 21 years old. Hard to say if he’ll have an impact.
- Victor Wanyama – the gem of the transfer hauls so far. Smashed home a winner against Palace at the Lane. Brings the pace, toughness, presence together with skill that was lacking last year when Alli and Dembele were out. Almost a bargain at £14M. Red card magnet last year at Southampton; piling up the yellows at Spurs. Pochettino does not forget red cards; ask Vlad Chiriches if you can find him.
- Moussa Sissoko – signed with Everton – not! His first premier league appearance for Spurs raised concerns he was still thinking like an Gunner determined to defeat Spurs at any cost. Played well in the Manchester City win. Obviously the flirting with Everton and the red shirt in his closet make supporters edgy. but a welcome speedy and powerful option up front. The £35M transfer fee paid for his services brings extra scrutiny. The expectation is immediately delivered consistent results.
Driving Shiny New Cars
The core Pochettino has built has proven itself and its members are queuing for their due rewards. The manager demanded action to keep them. The chairman opened the Club’s vault. The patience and confidence Mr Levy has shown with the current coaching staff and players is frankly amazing; ask George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas, or Tim Sherwood what they think.
- Eric Dier – The team depended on him last year as the holding midfielder; rewarded for his versatility and toughness.
- Christian Eriksen – One of two remaining Bale acquisitions. The playmaker reaped the benefits of his hard work.
- Harry Winks – Home-grown product with a bright future. Could challenge for playing time elsewhere but a critical squad player for Spurs making a mark in the League Cup.
- Kyle Walker – Speedy defender, tough player. A rare combination which Pochettino loves. England’s best performer at Euro 16. Holding on to his grit and pace was a priority.
- Danny Rose – Also a speedy defender, with great ball skills and never backs down. Pochettino loves gritty, tough players. He certainly is.
- Tom Carroll – Another home grown product and critical squad player, can hold up his end wherever he plays. This contract did draw scrutiny given Carroll’s limited role and the emergence of Harry Winks as a potential replacement.
New contracts for Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen, and Erik Lamela are due.
Hugo Lloris is the team captain, least replaceable, most valuable, top performing and the foundation upon which the entire team is built. Not paying Lloris is unthinkable.
Lamela wants a big raise and he’s earned it. He’s tougher, smarter, stronger, and in addition more comfortable.
Spurs will obviously meet Harry Kane’s asking price. They warned every club on four continents that he wasn’t for sale. But you get the feeling that Harry is the kind of kid who would play for free just because he loves it. Nevertheless, nobody is that naive or stupid. Of course the checkbook will be open when it’s time to pay him.
A new contract for Vertonghen will solidify Spurs’ defense even though it now revolves more around Toby Alderweireld. The two Belgian center backs are terrific playing separately; together they are almost unbeatable.
The Biggest Transfer of All
The one that didn’t happen had the most impact. Heung-Min Son wanted to go back to the Bundesliga. His time with the South Korean national team was a disaster for him personally. Military service looms over him – in one of the hottest hot zones on Earth. How could he concentrate on football? Pochettino told him “나는 당신을 믿습니다.” And the player’s response has been off the charts. Energizing the fans, scoring goals, working as hard as the manager demands, and also taking the team on his back. Sometimes, the best transfers are the ones you don’t make.
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