The key to any effective transfer policy for any club is to identify problem areas and have creative and pragmatic solutions to said problems. When it comes to Tottenham, this philosophy is not only imperative, but rather mandatory.
So instead of this article being the usual ‘click bait’ about how ‘Spurs can sign Messi’, it will instead focus on transfers that would not only improve the team, but could solve the issues around non-Home Grown player limits.
Before we begin talking about potential incoming players, a mini review of the season so far. Despite an explosive start, Spurs have been on the end of some disastrous results as of late, with the partnership of Son Heung-min and Harry Kane losing its early venom as Jose Mourinho edges further and further into a style mired in defensive pragmatism.
In saying that, all of the blame cannot be shouldered solely by Mourinho, with individual errors plaguing the Spurs back line this season. This has led to the Lilywhites dropping ten points from winning positions already, double that of any other club in the Premier League. This is an issue that coaching alone cannot resolve.
It is a problem that Mourinho and the club’s hierarchy is well aware of and they looked to ameliorate this last summer with various attempts to pry Milan Škriniar away from Inter, but the asking price was simply too high.
However, with Davinson Sanchez still unable to find any consistency after three years in North London and with Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon still in the infancy of Tottenham careers, the club may well look to revive a deal for Škriniar in the summer as Mourinho looks to find another missing piece to his Tottenham puzzle. But Škriniar’s the asking price unlikely to have come down, Daniel Levy may have to look for a cheaper option.
My pick would be Marseille ‘s Croatian central defender Duje Ćaleta-Car. At just twenty-four years old he is still yet to hit his peak, but is still experienced enough to start week in, week out. Standing at 6ft 3 inch he certainly fits the mould of a physically imposing defender which Mourinho tends to favour. But he is not just a big brute who will smash it into Row Z at a moment’s opportunity – he is a very accomplished passer of the ball. This season the Croatian has also managed to win a staggering 70% of his aerial duels, a talent that could certainly come in handy for set pieces.
When it comes to the financial outlay, French football has deep financial issues and, even though Marseille is not as detrimentally affected as other teams, Spurs will not need to make silly offer to prise him away. Unfortunately, Tottenham will have to probably shift a non-Home Grown player to get this deal over the line, a task that is a lot easier said than done. The possible outgoings to facilitate this transfer would be a combination of Villarreal taking up the option to sign Juan Foyth and the sale of Davinson Sanchez, neither of which are certainties.
The next problem area is in attacking midfield. Tanguy Ndombele’s emergence as one of the best midfielders in the league is one of a few positive for Spurs fans. The Frenchman has been key member of the Tottenham attacking unit, looking rejuvenated this season and producing moments of pure brilliance, most notably against Sheffield United when he scored an audacious chip with his back to goal to secure three points. And let us not forget the game against Southampton when he pirouetted beautifully to beat the press of two oncoming midfielders and found a defence splitting pass to Son Heung-min who promptly slotted away.
However, despite Ndombele’s electric displays, he and Harry Kane have had to shoulder far too much of the creative burden. Giovani Lo Celso’s stop-start season and the mysterious treatment of Dele Alli hasn’t helped, but this it is still a key problem Spurs need to address in the summer window.
Marcus Edwards could be the answer. Edwards was a highly touted talent during the Mauricio Pochettino era, with the former Spurs coach even once likened him to Lionel Messi. Since leaving for Portuguese side Vitoria S.C in 2019, the twenty-two-year-old has gained a reputation as a dynamic ball carrier with the ability to play on either wing or behind the striker.
He has bags of technical ability and is not too bad with a defence splitting through ball either. Last season, Edwards managed seven league goals and five assists with an additional two goals in the Europa League. Tottenham would have to pay a relatively small fee to resign a player with great potential, as well as much needed creative invention in addition to help solving the growing foreign player issue. The outgoings to facilitate this transfer would likely be either Erik Lamela or Lucas Moura, both of whom are struggling for regular playing time.
The last transfer suggestion has been rumoured for some time. The position is central midfielder, and the player is Marcel Sabitzer. The twenty-six-year-old is a versatile and important cog in Julian Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig machine, playing numerous roles including right wing, false nine and defensive midfield. Sabitzer’s technical ability, defensive awareness, passing range and athleticism make him the perfect partner for Tottenham’s midfield general Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, with both capable of line breaking passing. Additionally, he already plays under a coach dubbed “Mini Mourinho”, so it may be a quick transition period for Sabitzer if he makes the move to North London. His adaptability in playing in multiple positions and in a variety of systems is surely something that would interest Mourinho.
I believe Tottenham have a fantastic squad, but we lack balance. We must remember we are in a transitional period under Mourinho, but, with a few of the right signings, there is no telling what the club could achieve.