There are many levels upon which one could answer this question. There is the argument that a stronger mentality is needed, as Spurs managed to come so close yet so far again in their pursuit of their first trophy for ten years. Many critics will claim that Spurs need a new wage structure and strategy, given that the tight purse strings approach from Daniel Levy has not actually returned any silverware and a section of the support fear that a mass exodus of superstars will ensue if the structure does not change. However, I will answer this question by attempting to identify what Spurs need on the pitch to propel them to new heights. Wish me luck.
Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, Paulo Gazzaniga
Despite the rumblings of a small section of fans calling for Hugo’s head, I am going to stick with the French captain. He definitely had his fair share of shaky moments last season as well as a shocking mistake against Croatia in the final of the world cup where he gifted Mandzukic a goal. Apart from that bizarre moment he had a solid tournament and could have potentially won the golden glove instead of Courtois. As for the backup brigade, Michel Vorm and Paulo Gazzaniga showed last season in a handful of cameo appearances that they are very much capable between the sticks. However, Pochettino wants an apprentice for Hugo-someone who could develop under his wing and eventually take the first team berth, which was the intention with the Pau Lopez experiment. It wouldn’t surprise me if a young unknown keeper is signed in this window, but I doubt it will happen.
Names linked: none.
Kieran Trippier, Serge Aurier, Kyle Walker-Peters
After a fantastic World Cup, Kieran Trippier has more than proved his worth as a top full-back. His final ball was a key asset for England, and it was not a surprising sight for Tottenham fans, who have been seeing his quality in the final third for three years since arriving from Burnley. I am hesitant to call the second-choice full-back on either wing a backup, due to Poch’s tendency of rotating full-backs pretty much every game, but regardless the spot is up for grabs.
After a rather poor first season at Spurs, Serge Aurier is definitely not the first choice for the right-back spot and given the rise of Kyle Walker-Peters, who impressed in both the first game of the season and the last, he might not be the second choice either. There is a case for those who believe there should a fresh face in the choices for right-back, but Pochettino’s philosophy of giving players a second chance (Moussa Sissoko ahem) might mean that Aurier gets another crack at Spurs, and Aurier’s incompetency’s might open the door for Kyle Walker-Peters to get more regular game time.
Names linked: none
Danny Rose, Ben Davies
It is no secret that Danny Rose has hinted that he isn’t happy at Spurs in the past, and Pochettino’s no-nonsense policy might facilitate his wishes for a move, but an interview at the end of last season hinted that he plans to stay at Spurs for the incoming season. He mentioned that he plans to ‘get back to work’ with Ben Davies, and fight it out for the number one spot at left-back. Davies is, of course, a solid option, but Danny does offer that little bit more going forward. Ryan Sessegnon has been touted as a long-term replacement and many fans are sure that he is headed to Spurs in the near future but some of the figures being mentioned may mean Spurs are priced out of a move. Also given his goal-scoring prowess in the championship he might be utilised further up the pitch if a transfer does materialise. If Danny Rose does end up leaving Spurs, it is essential that his replacement also brings energy and an attacking threat down that left-hand side- Celtic fullback, Kieran Tierney, fits that profile but rumour has it that Juventus have entered the race for his signature. Ronaldo or Kane, eh Kieran?
Names linked: Ryan Sessegnon, Kieran Tierney
Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld, Juan Foyth, Cameron Carter-Vickers
Spurs started last season playing three at the back, utilising Toby, Jan and new signing Davinson Sanchez. After Toby got injured, Jan and Sanchez formed a formidable partnership; this pairing continued all the way to the end of the season, even after Toby returned from injury due to a fair amount of drama behind the scenes. Toby Alderweireld’s future at Tottenham is very much in doubt, as he appears to be in a stand-off regarding his wages. Although the partnership between Jan and Sanchez was an effective one, it was not the same as the one that Toby and Jan have struck up in recent years. Spurs conceded 36 goals last season, but conceded 10 fewer the season before. If Toby is to leave Spurs then a new face will have to come in, despite the return of Cameron Carter-Vickers after his impressive loan spells at Ipswich and Sheffield United. Carter-Vickers isn’t as comfortable on the ball as some of his colleagues, which is a pre-requisite at Spurs; Spurs have also missed Alderweireld’s passing range from the back, something which many have claimed affected Dele Alli’s form last season. Juan Foyth is also an option, and he impressed with his passing ability and confidence on the ball last season; but he is still a season or two away from adjusting fully to the premier league. Several names have been touted, but the likelihood of the following names is slim.
Names linked: Jonathon Tah, Benjamin Pavard
Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama, Harry Winks
Another season, another brilliant central midfield partnership; last season was the repeat of the Dier-Dembele partnership from the 15/16 season. The Wanyama-Dembele partnership from the 16/17 season was arguably as good, but the Kenyan midfielder struggled with injuries last year, and when he returned he found his opportunities limited (apart from that rocket at Anfield).
Mousa Dembele had perhaps one of the best games of his career against Juventus in Turin, and is expected to continue his class in Spurs’ midfield for the incoming season; there have been whispers of a potential exit to China or Italy, but nothing yet has materialised.
Eric Dier and Wanyama provide excellent solidity screening the back four alongside Dembele, which provides good competition for places and encouraging depth. Harry Winks started the season on top of the world, controlling the midfield versus Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and at Wembley, but his recurring ankle injury is a cause for concern- he had ankle surgery this summer but has recently been pictured alongside his team-mates at pre-season training. Winks’ passing range and energy on the ball certainly adds some dynamism to the midfield, but when Dembele does eventually move on, is Winks going to be a viable long-term replacement? Powerful, athletic midfielders have been linked with Spurs in recent weeks, but will these players possess the feet of a ballerina and the strength of a bull in one brilliant, boisterous Belgian package?
Names linked: Amadou Diawara, Tanguy Ndombele
Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, Mousa Sissoko, Josh Onomah
Although there seems to be a plethora of options in the attacking midfield behind the striker, there is still room for improvement. Moussa Sissoko has done little to convince his critics of his qualities, and as for Josh Onomah, he had a bit-part role in Aston Villa’s bid for promotion in his loan spell last season.
Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are sure starters in this stable Spurs side, but Heung-min Son’s international commitments may see him miss the first few weeks of the season as he is due to represent his country in the Asia Cup. Erik Lamela experienced something of a reawakening toward the end of last season, especially in the last game versus Leister, where he scored a brace. Pochettino said last season that Lucas Moura is almost like a summer signing, when he arrived in the January transfer window from PSG; Lucas has impressed in patches since his arrival, and the absence of Son might give him the chance to really get a run of games. However, past Dele and Eriksen, there is no depth in that creative role. When Eriksen does not play, Spurs do not play, as the performance versus Southampton at St Mary’s evidently proved. Andre Gomes has been touted as the fresh face for Spurs’ attacking midfield, but the strongest rumours by far have been those linking Jack Grealish to Tottenham. The 22-year old is seen as the next player in a line of young English talent that Pochettino has taken under his wing, and he could benefit from the Argentine’s disciplined approach.
Names linked: Jack Grealish, Andre Gomes
Harry Kane, Fernando Llorente
No prizes for guessing who is the first choice striker for Spurs, with Harry Kane registering another personal milestone with his golden boot win at the World Cup, but the identity of striker number two is a little bit more ambigious. Fernando Llorente had a disappointing debut season at Spurs as the Athletic Bilbao legend only registered one league goal in 16 league appearances, and his future at Spurs has been in doubt. Pochettino began to prefer playing Heung-min Son as the focal point of the attack, and with Kaziah Sterling also knocking on the door, Llorente might find his opportunities next season limited.
Given that Son will be participating in the Asia Cup in August, it is necessary that Spurs look for another forward, a player with the ability to play as the central striker but also as a winger has been touted as the potential profile. Anthony Martial has been linked with a move to Spurs in the last few transfer windows, and given the proposition of Alderweireld moving the other way, a deal might be more likely than ever.
Players linked: Anthony Martial, Giovanni Simeonez.
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