How would Julian Nagelsmann transform the current Tottenham squad?
35-year-old Julian Nagelsmann has been the favourite for Tottenham’s new manager for a while now, there is still nothing confirmed but if he was to go to Spurs, which players would thrive the most under his football style?
Nagelsmann’s most common formation choice at Bayern Munich was 4-2-3-1, he is known for liking an attacking and high pressing style of football which was very similar to Mauricio Pochettino when he was at Spurs. He also liked a 3-4-2-1 and had a unique 3-1-4-2 in Bayern’s last match which seemed to work well.
He regularly changes formations throughout games and so its difficult to predict which players would start week in, week out. In a sense, this would work for Tottenham due to never really finding the correct formation for the current squad since Pochettino left, different things need to be experimented, which previous managers have been too stubborn to do. Nagelsmann has said he never wants to change his offensive and attacking style of football because he loves it and wants the fans to have an emotional time in the stadium but if he can’t win that way then he is willing to try other things.
Wingbacks play a big role in Nagelsmann’s system and so someone like Ryan Sessegnon could benefit. Even though he is not the best of defenders, he used to play well as a wingback for Fulham and Nagelsmann is known to be great at training players so the weaknesses will be worked on.
Pedro Porro is another player who could perform well under Nagelsmann, he has the ability to play as a wingback or a right back. Again, he is great pushing forwards which shows through his 2 goals and 2 assists record so far for Tottenham after being signed in January, however, he has only kept one clean sheet in his 12 appearances therefore he is another player who may need more defensive training.
With any new manager who comes in, they will most likely want a new first choice goalkeeper. Hugo Lloris is getting older now and hasn’t performed at his best the last couple of seasons. Fraser Forster has been a great step in when needed, however he is still not quite good enough for the first-choice goalkeeper role. Nagelsmann will look to sign someone like David Raya from Brentford ideally but there has also been mentions of Andre Onana and Jordan Pickford. Hugo Lloris’ time at Spurs looks to be over after this season.
Defence wise, it would depend on Nagelsmann’s formation and of course it will be rotated a lot especially in the beginning to see what works best for his wants and needs. Eric Dier and Davison Sanchez would try and be replaced as they have both been at Tottenham a while now (Dier 9 years, Sanchez 6 years) and again haven’t been performing the best this season.
Eric Dier has only kept 9 clean sheets out of his 33 appearances and Davison Sanchez only 2 out of 16 appearances. Spurs fans have known for a while that there needs to be replacements in defence and Nagelsmann has already proposed that he’d like to do this if he arrives before the summer.
Christian Romero is one player that could stay in the starting line-up due to his stability and he has proven himself in most games this season other than the odd reckless challenge.
Emerson Royal is someone who could thrive under Naglesmann, he didn’t have a great start to the season, Spurs fans did not enjoy watching him play for the first few months and couldn’t understand why Conte kept starting him. He then had a good few games but unfortunately got injured during the international break and so we didn’t see much of him for the second half of the season. The fact that he started playing better before he got injured shows that he has potential with more training and Nagelsmann is known for working with players, building their confidence and ironing out their weaknesses, therefore he could be exciting next season.
In midfield, Rodrigo Bentancur is a no-brainer start once he is back from injury. He is Tottenham’s strongest midfielder currently. Tottenham tend to look nervous on the ball in midfield and lack creativity and so Nagelsmann may want to sign a new midfielder to go alongside Bentancur instead of the current options of hojbjerg/skipp/bissouma.
Yves Bissouma once back from injury however could be a favourite starter due to Nagelsmann loving players who can press. Bissouma hasn’t quite found his feet yet at Spurs, Conte didn’t play him much and then he was struck with an injury in January and hasn’t been able to play since. Nagelesmann would give him the opportunity to get his minutes up and work on creating more in the middle.
No matter which formation Nagelsmann would decide on, he would always make sure Dejan Kulusevski, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane were included as any other manager would due to their outstanding reputation. Whether it would be a front 3, Kane up front with Son and Kulusevski in behind or something completely different, they would always be included with Richarlison off the bench too.
Nagelsmann has also been known for promoting young players, he has a reputation of turning youth players into superstars. Tottenham have a strong academy with some real prospects emerging, one of these is 19-year-old Dane Scarlett. Although this season he has struggled at Portsmouth, he has great statistics at Tottenham having scored 17 goals in 16 with the under 18s in 2020/21 and has made 3 appearances with the first team already (one in which he claimed an assist).
Dane Scarlett is usually described as being quick and technically gifted which is exactly what the German manager likes in a striker therefore the youngster could really breakthrough under Nagelsmann.
Although Tottenham’s future is uncertain at the moment manager wise, it could be very bright if they manage to secure Nagelsmann.