Tottenham’s summer overhaul has seen no fewer than seven big money signings make the move to North London. Villas-Boas continues to reshape his Premier League squad, but who will be the potential casualties of the revolution? Will the influx of foreign stars be to the detriment of home grown players looking to make a name for themselves at the club?
It is largely a unanimous opinion that Spurs of all the top clubs have undergone the most drastic of changes during the summer months. In fact of those that set up against Arsenal, only Kyle Walker had featured in Villas-Boas’ opening game the season before. The team is almost unrecognisable from last year, and the additions now of Eriksen, Chiriches and Lamela will only exacerbate this.
So what of Lennon and Townsend?
In my opinion the futures of both wingers couldn’t be more different. Townsend has been afforded greater opportunity since the departure of Bale and injury to Lennon, and has for me been a standout figure so far this season. The record signing of Erik Lamela may well put pay to any consistent first team opportunity, but at 22 does that really matter? He only made his first Premier League start this season, and for a man at the early stage of his development the opportunity to shadow the likes of Chadli and Lamela whilst playing in the cups is perfect.
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I talk about Chadli and Lamela as if they are cemented starters for the club, but clearly at the ages of 24 and 21 respectively their minutes will have to be managed just as carefully. With considerations for injury and fitness, I fully expect Townsend to get ample opportunity both starting and off the bench. Clearly Villas-Boas see’s potential in the young rising star or he would have surely been part of the summer cull.
The situation for Aaron Lennon is not quite as bright. Lennon has been a constant feature for Spurs sides down the years since joining from Leeds back in 2005. A consistent producer, with over 200 appearances to his name, has Lennon ever really fulfilled his undoubted potential?
Where the likes of a Bale and to a lesser extent Townsend have developed, Lennon has largely been treading water. His pace and running ability has never been in doubt, but frustratingly he has never been able to add that killer final ball or incisive finish to his arsenal. At 26 is it too late for the Englishman to learn?
The reality is he may not be afforded that opportunity. Lamela, Chadli and now Townsend all offer much more of a complete package at much younger ages, it is only logical for Spurs to pursue their futures ahead of Lennon’s this season.
At 26 Lennon is at a stage where he needs to be playing week in week out for his own fulfilment, will he get that at Spurs now? Unlikely for me and this is why I think he along with possibly Sigurdsson could be further casualties of the Villas-Boas reign in January.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t expect him to be placed in a similar exile to Assou-Ekotto, but Lennon may well be used off the bench and in cup matches. Perfect for a rising star like Townsend, but for a cemented Premier League player like Lennon I just cannot see this sufficing.
The only alternative for me is to play the highly versatile Chadli in the number 10 role, something I cannot see happening. Spurs now have Eriksen, Sigurdsson, Dembele and Holtby all vying for that position so I don’t see the use of moving Chadli into the centre of the park.
In a time of national footballing crisis is it high time Villas-Boas prioritised national interests? Villas-Boas has already harped on about the premium paid for English players and the harsh reality is in general our players aren’t as good as it stands in relation to our continental competition. As manager his task has clearly been to bring the club back to the promised land of Champions League football, by any means necessary.
If Lennon along with Livermore, Huddlestone and Parker are to be casualties then so be it. I doubt for most fans this is anything more than a secondary consideration, with the priority always being the success of the club as a whole.
What are your views on the futures of Townsend and Lennon?
Is Villas-Boas right to cull his English options?
Join the debate below
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