Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has enjoyed quite the maiden season at Tottenham Hotspur since arriving from Southampton in the summer – he’s arguably been their Player of the Season so far.
When Daniel Levy agreed to pay £15m for his services, a few eyebrows were raised, none more so than Don Hutchinson, who warned Spurs supporters that his signing wouldn’t turn them into a top-four side overnight.
Well, as of right now, the north London outfit are fifth, one point behind defending champions Liverpool at the half-way point and that’s largely down to the impact Hojbjerg has had.
“If it’s just one signing and Tottenham fans are thinking this is the signing that’s going to get us into the top four – nowhere near,” said Hutchinson to ESPN FC (via the Daily Express).
Now, who has egg on their face?
You could be forgiven for thinking that the Danish midfielder has done very little, two assists in 18 league starts are merely small numbers compared to the goalscoring exploits of either Heung-min Son or Harry Kane, but Hojbjerg’s role is far contrasting to that.
Spurs had long lacked an enforcer capable of controlling matches on his own ever since Mousa Dembele departed N17.
Off the ball, he’s an absolute workhorse, attempting 4.7 tackles per 90 minutes, only bettered by the livewire and often calamitous Serge Aurier, per WhoScored, whilst his success rate just shy of 60% suggests more often than not, he’s tough to get past.
His positional awareness in that anchorman role is equally sublime as he’s chipping in with 1.2 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per 90 minutes too, via WhoScored.
Hojbjerg’s playing style under the ‘Special One’ has now drawn its fair share of plaudits with the aptest endorsement coming from Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle, who told the Evening Standard:
“He is the perfect Jose Mourinho player – to sit in there, destroy and keep things ticking, he never gives it away, keeps it simple, he is a leader, a talker, he will do the nasty things, the hard graft.”
That’s a word often thrown about when speaking on the 25-year-old. He’s barely in the peak of his career yet, and multiple sources claim he’s an integral figure around the dressing room.
Spurs have certainly hit the jackpot here as they’ve got their midfield monster for the next five to six years, at least. And that all comes down to Levy getting the price down to just £15m.
The Saints’ asking price at one stage was thought to be a whopping £35m, so that speaks volumes in itself. To make matters even better, Spurs sent Kyle Walker-Peters in the other direction for £12m, meaning the total outlay on Hojbjerg was only really around £3m.
What an absolute bargain.
Sky Sports reporter Lyall Thomas said similar when speaking to the ‘Last Word On Spurs’ podcast in the summer, where he dubbed the move a “steal for a player of his age and experience” – before a ball had even been kicked too.
Now valued at €50m (£45m) by CIES Football Observatory, Spurs have clearly struck gold over this dream deal.
AND in other news, Bye-bye Sanchez: Spurs eyeing £22.5m beast likened to Vidic…