Perhaps in need of further assurances over Maurico Pochettino’s suitability to the north London side, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy handed the Argentine manager a rather modest budget this summer during his inaugural transfer window at White Hart Lane.
Resultantly, the Spurs boss has made do with what’s at his disposal, impressively enough getting the Lilywhites within just four points of the Premier League’s top four.
With a bit of cash and the freedom to dispose of some of Tottenham’s flopped first-teamers, ‘Poch’ could complete his mini-revolution in the second half of the season.
With that in mind and the Lilywhites likely to be very busy in January, here’s their three likeliest departures followed by three reported replacements.
No one can doubt Mousa Dembele’s natural talent but the Belgium international hasn’t come anywhere close to replicating the form of his Fulham days, which convinced Spurs to trigger his £15million release clause back in summer 2012.
His White Hart Lane move instigated a change in role, transitioning from a supporting forward into a box-to-box centre-mid, but it’s hardly improved Dembele’s game which has notably declined, at least in statistical terms, over the last two-and-a-half campaigns:
It speaks volumes that the 27 year-old can’t get a look-in over rookie midfielders Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason this season, with Mauricio Pochettino clearly preferring the hunger and enthusiasm of their youthful vigour over Dembele’s ever-questionable application.
The powerhouse playmaker can’t be too happy over the situation and rumours of his North London departure have gradually gathered pace over the last twelve months or so. Spurs will want a fee that saves face, likely around the £10million mark.
That’s a little steep for a glorified bench-warmer but there’s plenty of potential suitors out there. Premier League sides Everton and Stoke City have both been linked since the summer, whilst a move abroad can’t be ruled out either:
Everton eyeing January move for Tottenham midfielder Moussa Dembele: Dembele was impressive on his first start of… http://t.co/GHmqCq9OFC
— Football-News (@Bot_Football) September 20, 2014
[Sport News] | Report: Stoke City want Mousa Dembele http://t.co/sHiul631A7 |Via Sports Mole
— Naija NewsPapers (@NaijaNewsPapers) December 16, 2014
There is an alternative solution to the Dembele dilemma according to the tabloids:
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) December 15, 2014
If Dembele represents the old guard of passionless mercenaries Mauricio Pochettino wishes to expel from the Lane, Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph epitomises everything he wants in a central midfielder.
The 25 year-old shares the gutsy, energetic style of Ryan Mason but blends it with superior quality – perhaps summarised best by this lung-bursting run, followed by an inventive finish, against Chelsea last season:
It’s been a solid twelve months for Delph too. He earned the Villain of the Year award at the end of last season and more recently a spot in Roy Hodgson’s England squad, with three caps since his September debut. Here’s a look at his stats over the last few seasons:
Even if the Dembele swap deal doesn’t get off the ground, the Three Lions prospect is almost certain to leave Villa Park in January. His contract is set to enter its final six months and a new deal is becoming increasingly unlikely:
Delph to run down Aston Villa contract amid Liverpool & Tottenham interest http://t.co/5s4p0Lm8zP
— Goal (@goal_intl) November 23, 2014
Resultantly, the Lilywhites could land the industrious midfielder for a modest fee.
Vlad Chiriches is obviously a talented prospect, demonstrating his future potential in sporadic glimpses over the last 18 months:
But the Romanian international has never really forged a regular role for himself in Tottenham’s starting XI since first joining the north Londoners in summer 2013, going on to make just twenty starts in the Premier League.
Resultantly, there’s been plenty of speculation about his future ahead of the January window, with recent reports linking him with a move to Serie A:
— Barclays League (@BarclaysLeague) December 5, 2014
Some more audacious tabloid gossipers have even suggested a loan move to north London rivals Arsenal!
Arsenal news and transfers: Tottenham’s Vlad Chiriches shock January loan target for Gunners?: PLUS: Gunners face a… http://t.co/7FOhFo9p6A
— Football-News (@Bot_Football) December 4, 2014
Mauricio Pochettino added Eric Dier and Federico Fazio to his squad this summer and also appointed Younes Kaboul as the club’s new captain, yet there are still clear problems at the heart of Tottenham’s defence.
As a result, it’s believed the Spurs gaffer is keen to add an old ally to his squad in January, in the form of Espanyol defender Hector Moreno:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) November 13, 2014
The Mexico international, who first rose to acclaim after a string of promising performances at the 2010 World Cup, served under Pochettino for one-and-a-half seasons, winning Espanyol’s Player of the Year award during his inaugural campaign, before the Argentine’s sacking in November 2012.
He’s since gone on to prove himself as one of La Liga’s better defenders outside of its top three clubs. Here’s the 26 year-old’s stats from the last few years:
Spurs were reportedly courting the 6 foot centre-back during the summer, until a fractured tibia at the World Cup ruined his chances of a White Hart Lane switch.
So with Espanyol in desperate need of funds and Spurs searching for another defender, the Lilywhites are almost certain to revive their interest.
A departure that would likely be a cause for celebration with many sectors of the Tottenham fanbase, the Lilywhites have quite clearly been trying to offload mercurial striker Emmanuel Adebayor for some time.
Even compared to his usual standards, the Togo international has endured a rather worrying dry patch this season, netting just twice in eight Premier League appearances.
Still on an eye-watering £100k per week, Spurs won’t be putting up a fuss if someone comes in for the 30 year-old in January.
Having recently returned to his homeland on compassionate leave, following reports that his mother has been using black magic to ruin his career and counter-claims from his brother that Adebayor has been brainwashed by Muslims, one would assume there isn’t too much demand for the former Arsenal and Manchester City star right now.
Counter-intuitively however, there are some suitors emerging from the wood-work, most notably Galatasaray:
— Tayfun Yıldırım ® (@yldrmtayfun) November 21, 2014
Alternatively, the Evening Standard claims two Qatari clubs could offer Adebayor a significant pay rise to join them in January.
An audacious suggestion perhaps, but the Daily Express believe Tottenham will sell Adebayor (and more significantly, get him off the wage bill) along with Roberto Soldado in order to fund a move for Porto front-man Jackson Martinez in January:
Tottenham prepare double striker sale to fund Jackson Martinez acquisition – The Express http://t.co/pyUIusIctz
— e-Spurs (@e_spurs) December 16, 2014
The Colombian international’s return for the Primeira Liga outfit is certainly impressive, boasting 77 goals in 111 appearances across all competitions, including ten league goals this season. Here’s a clip of Martinez in action:
Serving under the moniker ‘cha cha cha’ for his dance-like grace in the final third, the 28 year-old is widely viewed as a perfect fit for the Premier League, blessed with an abundance of power, pace, agility and netting prowess.
Reportedly valued at a whopping £40million however, the South American striker may be just beyond Spurs’ financial reach this January.
And they’re hardly the only interested party with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, in addition to a plethora of continental outfits, also linked to his signature:
Liverpool plot HUGE bid for striker to fight off interest from Arsenal, Man Utd & Chelsea: LIVERPOOL are prepa… http://t.co/LhSFOj1YXG
— Football Talk (@FootballTalk_) December 6, 2014