This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Tottenham Hotspur might have won the transfer window.
Spurs headed into the market looking to refresh a squad that reached the Champions League final and finished in the Premier League’s top four.
Yet, their run to the final was achieved in spite of, instead of because of, their recruitment. They did not sign a single player in the summer transfer window of 2018 and followed it up by drawing another blank in January.
Their lack of squad depth was painfully evident as they embarked on a horrific run towards the end of the league campaign, winning just three of their final 12 contests. After all, they were focusing on that remarkable charge to Madrid.
But this summer, they bought Tanguy Ndombele for a club-record fee, acquired Giovani Lo Celso on an initial loan deal and also struck a deal to bring in teenager Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham. Jack Clarke was signed and then loaned back to Leeds United.
Spurs have also shipped out the deadwood.
Kieran Trippier was sold to Atletico Madrid after a season in which he made so many mistakes he was left out of the England squad for the Nations League finals.
Vincent Janssen finally found another club after a disastrous spell at Spurs as he was sold to Monterrey; Georges-Kevin Nkoudou moved to Besiktas; Josh Onomah was sent to Fulham in return for Sessegnon; Michel Vorm and Fernando Llorente were both allowed to leave at the end of their contracts.
And they’ve kept a few too.
Spurs headed into the transfer window with question marks hanging over Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.
All three have contracts that expire at the end of the season and Eriksen had outlined a desire to move on following the Champions League final. No bids were forthcoming though, and he has remained with the club. He scored against Arsenal in the north London derby this weekend – it doesn’t get any better than that.
Vertonghen also returned to the team against the Gunners after a spell out and played well alongside his old partner in defence, Alderweireld, who had a £25m release clause in his contract throughout the summer.
It wasn’t triggered, and Spurs’ options now look remarkably strong. Not only do they have a strong Plan A that brings in the best of last season and their new signings, but they also have a strong and dynamic Plan B.
Assuming everyone is fit, this is probably Spurs’ strongest XI.
The backline is strong and familiar with each other; Ben Davies is a better option defensively than Danny Rose.
The attack radiates positivity and, though it sees Eriksen being played out of position, it accommodates Lo Celso and brings in the opportunity for Spurs to interchange in a fluid, fluent manner. There is the option of adding Dele Alli here, too, but let’s assume Pochettino is going to give his summer acquisition a run of games.
Partnering Ndombele with Harry Winks makes the most sense, as it allies steel and silk in the centre of the pitch.
This is another strong XI.
Admittedly, Spurs could do with another striker, as Kane features in both plans, but the rest of the team is completely different.
Paulo Gazzaniga is an efficient goalkeeper, while Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth both have excellent ball-playing abilities at centre-back.
Watch Tottenham Hotspur Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
Rose is as experienced as the day is long, as is Serge Aurier at full-back.
Moussa Sissoko is a dynamic presence in midfield, and he can be paired with Eric Dier, who can carry the ball and also win it back.
This is also an exciting front three behind Kane, with Sessegnon and Lucas Moura both remarkably quick talents, and Alli a match-winning presence.
And while plan A is packed with technical quality and creativity with the likes of Lo Celso, Eriksen and Ndombele, the sheer pace and dynamism of the second XI’s attack, combined with the industriousness of the second-choice midfield duo, makes it a perfect counter-attacking set-up.
Finally, Spurs have options. No longer will they have to sacrifice domestic success for European ventures, or vice versa.