The Hard Tackle analyses Tottenham’s transfer business and gives its verdict of the Premier League giants’ performance in the summer window.
This ongoing summer witnessed one of the chaotic transfer windows in football’s history, with some of the biggest players in world football leaving their respective clubs to find new adventures elsewhere. But with the market closed, clubs have already started preparing their new game plan around the new players before the season resumes during the second week of September.
One of the busiest clubs in the market this summer was Tottenham Hotspur. Coming on the back of yet another disappointing campaign and a rather slow start to the summer that saw the appointments of Fabio Paratici and Nuno Espirito Santo, the North London giants flushed out a total of €66 million on the likes of Emerson Royal, Bryan Gil and Pape Sarr.
Pierluigi Gollini and Cristian Romero, on the other hand, were brought in on loan deals, with two having a buy option worth €15 million and €50 million respectively. The Lilywhites offloaded a bunch of players as well, including the ageing Joe Hart, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose, yielding a total of around €33 million from sales while saving much more on wages.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will delve deeper into Tottenham Hotspur and see how fared this past summer after what was a roller-coaster of a window in Europe.
INS: Bryan Gil, Emerson Royal, Pape Sarr, Pierluigi Gollini (loan + buy option), Cristian Romero (loan + buy option)
OUTS: Juan Foyth, Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko, Joe Hart, Danny Rose (released), Erik Lamela (released), Paulo Gazzaniga (released), Pape Sarr (loan), Alfie Whiteman (loan), Serge Aurier (released), Cameron Carter-Vickers (loan)
MVA (Most Valuable Addition): Cristian Romero
Despite all their activity in the transfer market this summer, very few of Tottenham’s new signings were actually significant, as far as their first-team plans are concerned. Pape Sarr was immediately loaned back to Metz while Bryan Gil is only set to be an alternative to the likes of Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn for now.
The same can be said for Pierluigi Gollini, who is only set to step in after Hugo Lloris leaves the club next summer or gets injured during the course of the season. Emerson Royal, too, is behind Japhet Tanganga in the pecking order if not Matt Doherty, thus automatically making Cristian Romero the most valuable addition to the squad.
The Argentine international was Tottenham’s marquee signings in many ways, joining the club on a season-long loan deal and a buy option worth an astonishing €50 million.
Very few could blame Atalanta’s valuation, given the defender’s stellar success with La Dea while helping Argentina win Copa America in the summer. In North London, he was predictably brought in to not only replace the departed Toby Alderweireld but also offer some much-needed quality in the backline.
During his time at Atalanta, Romero had showcased excellent technical prowess, which tuned in well with the defender’s ability to read the game. His overall athleticism further boosted the profile, and it goes without saying that the Argentine is currently Tottenham’s best defender in terms of sheer quality.
Romero, though, has bizarrely yet to become a first-team regular for Spurs, thanks to Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez enjoying an exemplary start to the campaign. But the 23-year-old should gradually make his way into the starting eleven, and while it remains to be seen whether or not he can replicate his performances in the Premier League, the idea of him succeeding is appealing enough to any Spurs fan at the moment.
Shrewd Work (A Departure That Is Ideal For All Parties): Moussa Sissoko
Since being appointed as the managing director, Fabio Paratici has done a tremendous job of offloading unwanted players from the Tottenham setup, which is no feat in the current financial situation in Europe. And perhaps the most impressive of all the deals was Moussa Sissoko’s sale to Watford.
The Frenchman’s departure of Spurs was due for quite some time now, but the fans, as well as the coach, will certainly welcome his €3.5 million move to Watford, as the player was offering virtually nothing to the table.
While there is no doubt about Sissoko’s work ethic, his qualities have been redundant to Spurs ever since the arrival of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg last summer. Moreover, his lack of technical abilities had often made him a liability for the club over the years and his continued presence in the team would have blocked the path for several young players, including Oliver Skipp.
It was still a difficult choice between Sissoko and Juan Foyth but while the latter is still more than capable of becoming an asset for Villarreal, Sissoko simply isn’t cut out for modern football and is much more suited to a one-dimensional counter-attacking side.
In that respect, a move to Watford should be perfect for him as the Frenchman is unlikely to have any problem getting sizable game-time under his belt. His experience at the highest level of football should be useful for the Hornets, too, in their bid to survive the drop under Xisco this season.
The Big Miss (A Player Who Should Have Left): Tanguy Ndombele
This is a tough call between Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Winks, but the former gets the nod as one player Tottenham Hotspur should have offloaded quite early in the window.
It is apparent that the Frenchman is not consistent enough to thrive in the Premier League, especially under the leadership of Nuno Espirito Santo, who is known to be a stickler of manners. Ndombele’s potential departure, in that regard, might have gone a long way in freeing up a sizable sum in their wage budget.
It would have been ideal in helping them funding a move for a quality midfielder, who could have partnered with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the middle of the park. Fortunately, it appears Tottenham are looking at Houssem Aouar as a potential option and are even open to sanction a swap deal involving Ndombele.
As for Winks, his one-dimensional style is not cut out for Tottenham either. But being an Englishman, the midfielder does hold a certain value to the squad, especially in the post-Brexit era when Premier League clubs will be forced to employ more homegrown talents in one or two years time.
Final Verdict: Mixed Bag
It has not been a particularly bad transfer window for Tottenham. Fabio Paratici has done an excellent job of identifying a key core in the side and bringing in talents that might fit into the scheme. But a majority of them aren’t likely to immediately make an impact, while the club’s main two problems remain unresolved.
Indeed, the lack of a proper partner for Hojbjerg could prove to be a problem this season while Spurs should have also signed a young forward, who can be groomed into a long-term replacement for Harry Kane. The inability to offload Ndombele is also a cause for concern.
It will be interesting to see if that will be the case when the transfer market re-opens in January, but for the time being, Tottenham must retain a similar level of performance, throughout the first half of the campaign.