Your Move Daniel Levy - Five Winter Transfers For Tottenham That Mauricio Pochettino Should Have His Eyes On
The Sportsman asked lifelong Tottenham fan and regular contributor Kat Lucas for five possible transfer recruits Mauricio Pochettino should have his eye on this January, if his employer would allow it that is...
At Tottenham, the opening of the January transfer window will not be greeted with the same excitement as in other quarters.
The club’s period of austerity continues, having become the first club in Premier League history not to sign a single player in the summer.
Mauricio Pochettino, for his part, has taken on board that challenge graciously, preferring to keep together a tight knit squad of 24 players – one short of the official allowance.
However, injuries threaten to cast doubt on the viability of that strategy and there are areas Spurs must address if they are to maintain their push for honours between now and the end of the season.
Notably, they find themselves desperately short in central midfield, while Toby Alderweireld’s extension contains an enticing £25million release clause.
Lyon’s defensive midfielder Tanguy Ndombele ought to be top of the Lilywhites’ list as they seek a replacement for the outgoing Mousa Dembele.
Victor Wanyama’s persistent injury problems and Eric Dier’s bout of appendicitis have meant Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks have started all of the festive fixtures, with the latter completing 90 minutes each time. In the 3-1 defeat to Wolves, there were undeniable signs of fatigue.
Yet, Spurs could be punished for being slow off the mark. They have shown an interest in Ndombele for quite some time, but his profile has been raised by his Champions League performances and Lyon are now demanding upwards of £70million. Manchester City’s interest has inflated the market, especially as their own midfield shortages have been revealed by Fernandinho’s recent layoff.
Another spanner in the works is that Tottenham need to sign English players because there is no room in the squad for non-homegrown players unless one of Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, Fernando Llorente, or Vincent Janssen departs.
It’s no coincidence, therefore, that their scouts have been in attendance at the KCOM stadium, where Jarrod Bowen has been blossoming.
The winger operates on the right and is Hull’s leading goalscorer with 11 already this season. Leeds and Everton are the other clubs monitoring his rapid rise from Hereford. The 22-year-old would not be an immediate starter for Spurs, with Pochettino reluctant to invest in solving temporary problems, such as Heung-Min Son’s imminent departure for the Asian Cup.
Erik Lamela is having to be carefully managed but Lucas Moura has proved an impressive alternative, making the matter less pressing.
Like Ndombele, though, the increasing attention surrounding Bowen means he could cost as much as £20million, a fee which would serve as a deterrent.
Only Neymar has scored more in Ligue 1 than the Lille winger, who has spoken openly about pursuing a possible move to another top European league.
Pépé is also being tracked by Arsenal, whose need is arguably more pressing; he’s expected to cost in the region of £40million.
Roma are facing a battle to hold onto right-sided midfielder Under, who arrived a year ago from Basaksehir.
The 21-year-old is another player at the centre of a tug-of-war between the two north London clubs after scoring three goals and assisting another five in Serie A this season.
While Spurs have a number of possible options at right-back, they have experienced difficulties in that position this season, with Kieran Trippier struggling to replicate his World Cup form and Serge Aurier yet to really convince on a regular basis.
That has led to suggestions that the club could dip into the market for 19-year-old Max Aarons, who has been impressing for promotion candidates Norwich. Yet there is a feeling that he would not necessarily be an upgrade on academy product Kyle Walker-Peters.
A more ambitious target is PSG’s Thomas Meunier, who could form part of a surprise swap deal for Toby Alderweireld.
Tottenham would prefer for the centre-back to move abroad, rather than to Manchester United, with whom they have a difficult relationship dating back to Dimitar Berbatov’s move in 2008. In contrast, they have enjoyed doing business with the Parisians in recent years, procuring both Aurier and Moura from them.
Daniel Levy will need to be typically astute in the next few weeks if Spurs are to strengthen, even if they are rarely active in January – otherwise, the fear is that they could be priced out of some essential business.