The summer transfer window has drawn to a close and now we’re straight into an international break but when his Tottenham Hotspur squad returns, Nuno Santo will be tasked with plenty of interesting selection dilemmas.
Spurs made one final splash on deadline day, signing Emerson Royal from Barcelona, which took their total number of arrivals to five – a very impressive first impression from new sporting director Fabio Paratici.
Only the addition of another striker would’ve perhaps made their activity absolutely outstanding.
The Lilywhites will return to Premier League action, sitting top of the table, next week with a trip to London rivals Crystal Palace but what sort of side could the Portuguese deploy?
There will be plenty of potential XIs running through his mind, so Football FanCast delve into what could be his best line-up if everyone is fit and available…
Throughout the summer, there were reports suggesting that Nuno wanted to deploy a two-man attack system and this is something he could still do, even though they failed to sign another forward.
In a 3-5-2 formation, we could well see Heung-min Son pair Harry Kane upfront. After all, the duo scored 40 of their 68 league goals last season (59%). The South Korean coped in the role in the Englishman’s absence, so why not try the pair of them? It’s certainly a mouthwatering prospect.
This change in system would see a three-man engine room, with wing-backs that can contribute at either end of the pitch – the arrival of Emerson allows Nuno to deploy both the Brazilian and Sergio Reguilon on the flanks. Both have the ability to bomb on and create things for the frontline, as well as help out defensively.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp have started every game thus far, and are likely to continue that solid partnership in deeper roles in midfield but a decision would have to be made further up the pitch.
Spurs were unable to sell Tanguy Ndombele but on his day, he’s the most skilled and technically gifted player in this team. Ex-goalkeeper Joe Hart once told BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand that the £45m-rated Frenchman is “unplayable” on his day (via football.london).
If he can get himself back into Nuno’s good books, both with his attitude and fitness, then he would surely be preferred to either Dele Alli or Giovani Lo Celso.
Hugo Lloris is the obvious candidate between the sticks but what of his backline? Surprisingly, Spurs’ disastrous duo of Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have looked reborn under Nuno, with the former being nominated for the ‘Player of the Month’ award.
However, with summer signing Cristian Romero to come into the side, he could be the man to make way. Dier has performed very well, but as football.london’s Alasdair Gold explains perfectly, Sanchez has arguably edged it.
“Eric Dier has had an excellent start to the season but it’s difficult to see why Davinson Sanchez, who I think has been just as good if not even slightly better, isn’t on the list as well,” he said.
It would also be hard to drop Japhet Tanganga after his impressive start at right-back, so he could feature as the right-sided centre-back.
Spurs’s best XI?: Lloris; Reguilon, Romero, Sanchez, Tanganga, Emerson; Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Skipp; Son, Kane.