With one of the busiest windows in their history, Tottenham are open to even more new additions having already made five strong signings. This Antonio Conte side now has fierce competition for places, although this isn’t true for all areas on the pitch.
A shortlist is something most clubs have when signing players, but when Fabio Paratici is your Director of Football there is nothing short about it. Endless names being thrown into the hat with Spurs twitter making compilations of every player in the Serie A which get retweeted to the nth degree.
It is Paratici’s job, along with Conte, to narrow down these players and ultimately sign someone they think will suit the club and their new style of play. The question is, who are the remaining pieces of the puzzle for Tottenham?
The lack of consistent form from a right sided defender has always been a problem for Spurs since the 17/18 season, from Serge Aurier to Emerson Royal. However, Antonio Conte appears to have created the second coming of Cafu in Matt Doherty who was beginning to like another poor signing until the Italian’s arrival.
Tottenham now need to add quality to this position with a realistic signing. With early links to wing-backs in the Serie A (who would’ve thought?) including Wilfried Singo and Joakim Maehle, it seems Spurs may now be looking for a homegrown option:
It is the year 3000 and Daniel Levy’s hologram is in advanced talks with Djed Spence who has just received a letter from the Queen. Obviously that isn’t true but it sure felt like this deal wouldn’t be completed in our lifetime and there is one reason for that, Daniel Levy. Levy drives a hard bargain and will always try to save as much money as possible, which contributes to Tottenham being a financial juggernaut. Having said this, Tottenham now appear to be nearing his signature, with a medical to be expected in the coming days.
Levy’s dealings aside, this would be a great addition to the squad with Spence showing both defensive ability in a compact Nottingham Forrest side last season, but also attacking ability. Many will most likely remember his bombing runs against the red side of North London in the FA Cup earlier in the year, which is something Conte will desire in his wing-backs. Middlesbrough are asking for around £20 million, which is a fair price for a player destined for the premier league and with plenty of potential.
Spurs fans will be hoping he brings instant quality, if the deal is completed, competing for a place in the team with Matt Doherty, Emerson Royal and Japhet Tanganga.
With one of the strongest frontlines in world football, including the best partnership the Premier League has ever seen, it is hard to see why more attack minded players would be necessary.
However, creativity can often be an issue when it comes to games where teams park the bus from the start. A prime example of this is Tottenham’s 1-0 away loss to Burnley last season, where 66% possession was inconsequential with just two shots on target. Even a 1-0 home defeat to Brighton showed a key weakness in Conte’s style of play last season; there was no plan B. This wouldn’t have been the case if the only solution to midfield mediocrity was to bring on Harry Winks, who wears the number 8 shirt once worn by Paul Gascoigne.
It is magic like Gascoigne had that Spurs fans crave and they thought they would regain that magic in this window with Christian Eriksen becoming available. He was reportedly wanting to stay in London and play Champions League football, leaving only his former club and Chelsea to fit his original desires. This was until a verbal agreement with Manchester United was made and broke the hearts of those fantasising over a dream return for the Dane.
The Eriksen return was unlikely as his want for first team football would lead to a change in Conte’s current system, meaning he would often sit on the bench. Spurs have longed for an impactful creator and this window provides the opportunity to rectify that with two players currently being on the table:
The Olympique Lyonnais man has been key to their season with creativity and the ability to take a game by the scruff on the neck. However, he was unable to provide in their Europa League tie against West Ham when he came off the bench in a 3-0 home defeat that saw them exit the competition.
This may be a sign he isn’t the answer for Tottenham and they may need to look for someone who has proven they can succeed in the Premier League.
Having left Manchester United, Jesse Lingard is a free agent that fills plenty of the criteria Spurs are looking for. Lingard fills the homegrown quota; he has proven he has ability during his loan spell at West Ham last season and he also saves the club money as a free agent.
However, Lingard is demanding a high wage of over £100,000 per week which is something very off putting for a club with a strong wage structure, such as Tottenham.
A creative midfielder is one of the hardest positions to fill in a team, with a very small selection available in the current window. Tottenham will be keen to find the best possible solution to this weakness and provide their supporters with the entertaining style of play they long for.
This is the deal that is most sort after for a majority of the Spurs fan base, and where the best signing of Tottenham’s window could be made. With a saga of trying to sign Alessandro Bastoni in this window coming to an apparent end, the hunt for competition for Ben Davies continues. There have been few players more consistent than Davies under Conte, but with no real competition for the Welshman’s place in the side, it could see his performances worsen.
With Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon already providing some cover, there are three centre-backs Tottenham could go for to improve their depth further:
The 2022 Serie A Defender of the Year would be an obvious target for Paratici after having such great success with previous winner, Cristian Romero. The Torino centre-back provides a strong aerial presence and has an eye for an interception, which are two traits he shares with Romero. However, he is not as strong with distributing the ball, which is a useful asset to have in this Conte side.
Bremer does not usually play on the left side of the back line meaning he would have to adapt his play style, as well as adapting to life in the Premier League.
This deal seems unlikely at this stage but upon a return from a pre-season tour, Antonio Conte may feel Bremer is a necessity to achieve silverware with Tottenham.
The promising Bayern Leverkusen youngster has many Spurs fan excited with his aggressive style of play. At only 20 years old, he would be a long term investment for the club whilst also providing strong competition for Ben Davies.
His ball playing ability, interceptions and high success rate in the air would provide the Lilywhites with an Ecuadorian prospect who will not only solidify the back line, but help going forward. He has also prefers to play shorter passes out the back which would provide a contrast to Eric Der and Cristian Romero’s long ball playing ability.
Hincapie fits on the left side of defence and would be a strong addition if the North London side were willing to meet Leverkusen’s valuation of around £35 million.
Ndicka is a sought after centre-back with him many top clubs across Europe being linked with his signature, such as Juventus. The aggressive style of play Ndicka possess is something Tottenham clearly desire, most probably due to the incredible acquisition of Cristian Romero from Atalanta.
Ndicka possesses immense pace and doesn’t always feel the need to use it, due to his high levels of concentration. This speed is something Ben Davies does not possess and would provide Conte with a different approach for games against teams with quick wingers.
The Frenchman is also the cheaper option of all three centre-backs, which will please Daniel Levy just as much as anyone else.
Strong in the air, high levels of awareness and a consistent performer for Frankfurt in the Bundesliga this season. Ndicka would be a fantastic addition to the Tottenham squad or potentially starting eleven.
With all of these names being mentioned it is hard to tell which deals will surface, such as Clement Lenglet, and which will be forgotten, such as Kim Min Jae. What we do know is this could go down as a window that could redefine the term ‘Spursy’ or emphasise its meaning further.