Tottenham Hotspur were particularly quiet during the January window – even compared to their rather scrupulous £28million summer spend – with their only signing coming in the form of Dele Alli, who has now been loaned back to MK Dons for the remainder of the season.
Some will praise the Lilywhites for not submitting to the winter market’s many booby-traps. Yet, their reluctance to spend has left several lingering issues facing the first team squad still awaiting resolution.
With that in mind, here’s a list of what we at Football Fancast view as the FOUR most important issues – in the hope that the north London club will address them this summer instead.
So without further ado, click below to reveal the gallery.
Tottenham’s inactivity during the January transfer window – barring their acquisition of Dele Alli, who has been sent back to MK Dons on loan for the rest of the campaign – left me somewhat bemused.
The winter window is always a difficult time to buy players, but Spurs are yet to make a signing that actually fits into the high-pressing, high intensity philosophy Mauricio Pochettino has successfully installed since his summer arrival.
That’s left the Argentine largely dependent on academy players to implement his ethos and admittedly, the rises of the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb have very much become the story of the season at White Hart Lane.
But to suggest all will be first team regulars in the years to come, or for that matter next season, seems somewhat optimistic. And after proving his worth with a string of impressive results ahead of the January window, I expected Spurs to splash some cash and start remodelling their squad in Pochettino’s image.
Clearly, there’s some disparity between the management and the transfer department at the Lane. But until they make signings that encapsulate the Pochettino mentality, the north London outfit will struggle to get full value from their acquisitions.
With that last point in mind, central midfield is one of the areas that, in my opinion at least, Tottenham should have paid specific attention to last month.
Once again, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb have produced some stellar performances in recent months, but it speaks volumes that they’re regularly starting over the likes of Etienne Capoue, Moussa Dembele and Paulinho – who originally cost the club a whopping £42million combined.
The whole of Tottenham’s engine room needs a bit of a reshuffle, and one centre-mid that embodies the Pochettino pressing game particularly is Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph.
Much like Ryan Mason, he’s an all-action midfielder, blessed with gut-busting stamina, dogged tackling and the odd bit of elusive trickery, as demonstrated in the above video of his goal against Chelsea last season.
The 25 year-old could have been easily lured away from Villa Park last month too, with his contract due to expire at the end of the campaign and clubs such as Spurs and Liverpool hotly linked to his signature. No move ever materialised however, and the England international has now agreed extended terms with the Birmingham outfit.
Another Premier League proven centre-mid that could fit the bill is Everton’s James McCarthy. He’s relentless in his energy and all-round contribution, but convincing the Toffees to sell would require a sizable fee.
Another department that requires a drastic turnaround of personnel – although Harry Kane’s form in front of goal has left Tottenham fans with little to complain about this term, Spurs’ strikeforce desperately lacks depth in terms of dependable goalscorers.
Club record-signing Roberto Soldado and the ever controversial Emmanuel Adebayor for example, have bagged just three goals in over 24-and-a-half hours’ worth of Premier League football this season – which obviously isn’t good enough for a club that’s meant to be challenging for European football.
There were some alternative names linked with the north Londoners last month, including Porto front-man Jackson Martinez, who boasts 85 goals in 120 appearances and one league title with the Portuguese side, £8million-rated Fenerbahce striker Emmanuel Emenike, and of course, West Bromwich Albion’s prodigious poacher Saido Berahino.
But the Lilywhites never made good on their reported interest and they’ll now be hugely dependant on Kane until the end of the campaign. In the summer however, it’s essential the 21 year-old is understudied by more reliable goalscorers.
Combining the last three points, there’s an incredible amount of deadwood piling up at White Hart Lane that appears to have no real future under Mauricio Pochettino.
Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor both belong in that category, as do midfielders Paulinho and Etienne Capoue, who have made just twelve Premier League starts combined this season, and defenders Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul – despite the latter being issued the captain’s armband at the start of Pochettino’s reign.
Mirror Football alleged the north Londoners were planning a huge winter clearout, whilst some of the aforementioned names were linked with potential suitors, such as Paulinho and Inter Milan, Adebayor and West Ham, and Kaboul and Besiktas. But the only notable departures last month were Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who had his contract terminated, Kyle Naughton, who moved to Swansea, and Aaron Lennon, now on loan at Everton until his contract expires in the summer.
Admittedly, it’s never easy offloading players midseason. Although potential buyers are often in decent supply, they’re never prepared to spend the sums they would in the summer. Perhaps that’s why Tottenham have waited, but either way, they need a major clearout as soon as possible.