Three defenders Tottenham should target in January

Ange Postecoglou will need a couple of central defenders to keep Tottenham in the fight for the Premier League title or even a top-four place.

Rival fans are having a ball of a time with Tottenham, with Dominos UK mocking them with a ‘Spurs Crumble Pie’ tweet. Arsenal fans, in particular, are convinced it has gone all ‘Spursy’ for them after back-to-back defeats for the team leading the charts two Sundays ago.

Wolves struck a hammer blow to Tottenham’s already ‘crumbling’ title hopes with a late victory at Molineux. Afterwards, Ange Postecoglou said, “All understandable stuff given the lineup lineup we had out there.” The ‘understandable’ part was directed towards their defensive setup more than anything else. The manager may have made the board notice the dire need for new defenders ahead of the January transfer window.

The loss to Wolves, in particular, the lineup that Postecoglou fielded, showed a severe lack of intent from a team supposed to be challenging for the title. Even if they led the Premier League table until two Sundays ago, Tottenham’s defensive depth must have raised plenty of lingering questions.

Micky van de Ven may have proven to be a sensational buy for Spurs, and his tremendous partnership with Cristian Romero looked sensational until it lasted. All it took was one game to break that up and open up a gap that could derail Tottenham’s season.

Take Chelsea, for instance. They have been tremendous against the top-six teams this season, and despite some good results late on, they cannot move into the top half of the table. The gap is 10 points between them and fourth-placed Tottenham. But it will be tough for them to break into the top four.

Tottenham may face a similar prospect in the coming period, as they could continue their ‘crumble’ between now and some of their next few fixtures. They play Aston Villa at home next, potentially missing their two central defenders and even Yves Bissouma. After that, they face Manchester City, again without their centre-backs.

Tottenham will soon have Romero back in the mix, but van de Ven will not return until after the new year, as his hamstring injury is set to keep him out for a prolonged period. Returning to the loss to Wolves, the sight of Ben Davies covering his face in dismay following that late Mario Lemina striker has been all too common in the last many years, with the Welshman in the backline.

The same goes for Eric Dier, and one cannot blame Postecoglou for having to field those two in the absence of Romero and van de Ven. The circumstances are so dire that the Australian boss will somehow hope those fringe stars can hold the fort and keep the momentum going.

Should Tottenham keep up in a very difficult-looking title race, they must put all their eggs in the defensive market. Forget full-backs; they need at least two excellent central defenders that cover for their current first-choice duo and keep them on their toes in the way of bringing competition.

Here, The Hard Tackle lists three options that Tottenham can consider for a January purchase: adding quality, bringing competition, and being a right fit for the club under Postecoglou.

Victor Nelsson

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In football transfers, there is a lot of emphasis on doing the groundwork for a player before signing them, and Tottenham appear to have done plenty of it in Victor Nelsson’s case. The Galatasaray defender was one of their preferred targets, and as per reports, Postecoglou was looking to bring at least two new centre-backs.

So, while the thinking during the summer went along the lines of either Nelsson or van de Ven, the club should have tried to see both arriving. Finances may have played a big part in these decisions, and incidentally, Tottenham only signed one defender.

Nelsson, for his part, was open to a move during the summer window, but somehow, talks did not materialise into a decision between the two clubs. Galatasaray wanted a decent fee, still lower than his release clause, but Spurs were penny-pinching. Instead, they sold Davinson Sanchez to them, and that was a deal they could have negotiated well to include the Danish international.

In recent weeks, Nelsson has made it clear he does not intend to sign an extension to his current deal, which may have already cracked his relationship with the Turkish giants. In Tottenham’s quest to make every penny count, they could find a breakthrough in signing the Galatasaray star, who could fit in well with his energetic style and composed ideas.

Gleison Bremer

Football transfers have changed drastically from how they were two or three years ago. From the players’ perspective, it was more about joining a prestigious club over other aspects like money and fame. Premier League football has changed that, with more players increasingly keen to join up with one of the top English clubs if an offer comes by.

Hence, Tottenham’s links with Gleison Bremer would have made a laugh a few years ago. But nobody is flinching at the possibility today. The Brazilian has established himself as one of the most formidable defenders in the world, and Juventus will have no intention of letting him leave anytime soon.

Yet, a glamorous move to North London cannot be discounted at any stage, meaning Tottenham may have every chance of signing the Brazilian. Juventus’s financial situation would pressure the board to consider a big offer if it arrived, leaving the door open.

The only complication with Bremer is his status within the game, and he will not come in as someone to play second fiddle to one of van de Ven or Romero. David Ornstein of The Athletic recently said he had doubts whether Tottenham had the funds to compete in the January market, as he claimed the money they did spend was with the anticipation that Harry Kane would leave.

Hence, players like Bremer emerging in the market would be seen as an opportunity. But there are doubts Tottenham would be able to afford him, especially with Chelsea and Manchester United also keen. Therefore, links to stars like Ben Godfrey would start to make more sense, as Postecoglou might be forced to lean towards a squad depth option over spending big on a quality signing like Bremer.

Lloyd Kelly

Speaking of bargain options, there is another one in the pipeline that would not only cost a meagre sum but also be seen as a quality addition for the long term. We are talking about Lloyd Kelly, the Bournemouth defender, entering the club’s final six months of his deal.

Bournemouth will swing the narrative by initially asking for a considerable fee for a player in the final six months of his deal, but Tottenham have been here before. They face competition from Liverpool for the left-footed centre-back, but Spurs will remain confident of landing him.

The only problem is Kelly’s lack of versatility, as his profile makes him an outright cover for van de Ven. With other defenders on this list, like Bremer and Nelsson, they could use him on the right and left side. But Kelly is only a player for the left side as that suits his style of play.

Yet, for a team like Tottenham, who are looking at a new defender with quality and a firm eye on the price tag, Kelly would fit the bill. The only issue is competition, as he could evaluate his options, especially with Liverpool interested, as Jurgen Klopp is desperate to land a left-footed centre-back.

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