Welcome back to Transfer Plans, where we will be previewing the top six and their likely moves in the summer transfer window. Next up are Tottenham Hotspur, who snuck into a Europa League spot in sixth after a rocky season that saw them swap long-time manager Mauricio Pochettino for the outspoken Jose Mourinho.
The transfer window is now open and will run until Monday October 5.
An 81st-minute headed goal from Toby Alderweireld that sealed a 2-1 derby win against north London rivals Arsenal may have created a buzz around the club that papers over some cracks. Other key victories against the likes of Everton, Leicester City and Newcastle United were the highlights from a strong end to the season that featured only one defeat after the impromptu season-break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even though they finished two places above Arsenal in the table, the three-point gap is one of many factors that imply Spurs are in a similarly turbulent transition phase. Mourinho, now at his third Premier League club after a spell at Manchester United and two at Chelsea, does not seem to have the Midas touch that helped him to two Champions League triumphs and league titles in England, Portugal, Italy and Spain but a strong transfer window could help him prove the doubters wrong.
Image credit: Getty Images
Who’s coming in?
Mattia De Sciglio
With Eric Dier being preferred as a centre back, Mourinho publicly criticising Tanguy Ndombele and Oliver Skipp still only 19, Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks are the only viable senior options in defensive midfield. Sissoko has been a standout performer under Mourinho’s guidance but will be turning 31 next month, while Winks tends to be well-liked by managers but his difficulty impacting games means the fans are not always enamoured by him. In response to that, it has been widely reported that Spurs are haggling with Southampton to sign Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who reportedly prefers a move to them over Everton, but they might be forced to up their offer to £25 million to make him a Tottenham player.
Other than that, full-back reinforcements seem probable considering that Serge Aurier was the only recognised right-back in the post-lockdown squad and Ben Davies may be left as the only senior left-back if Danny Rose ends his 13-year stay with a permanent switch to Newcastle United. Juventus’ Alex Sandro makes sense on the left and his teammate Mattia De Sciglio heads up the right-back shortlist.
The confirmed outgoing of Jan Vertonghen and the potential exit of Juan Foyth might mean a move for a centre-back such as Kim Min-Jae or Kurt Zouma, but a more pressing concern is finally getting a decent back-up striker to help out Harry Kane and prevent Mourinho from having to use Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn in an unnatural central attacking role as cover. Strong rumours suggest they think Arkadiusz Milik or Callum Wilson are up to that task, while speedsters Demarai Gray and Ryan Fraser are of interest as cut-price wide options to supplement that.
Jose Mourinho plots cheeky bargain deal for Inter 'outcast' - Euro Papers
Players linked with a departure:
After 214 appearances for Tottenham, Danny Rose could be set to join Newcastle, who he spent half a season on loan at. His full-back counterpart Aurier might go too due to poor performances on the pitch and the negative press that came from him breaking British lockdown protocol more than once. Monaco are said to be keen to bring him back to Ligue 1. Additionally, Walker-Peters wants to make his stay at Southampton a permanent one, with a part-exchange deal being discussed that could see Hojbjerg join Tottenham in return. Elsewhere in defence, Foyth has been linked with a £15 million switch to Premier League newcomers Leeds. Ryan Sessegnon has struggled to break into the starting XI and has been preferred as a left-midfielder rather than a left-back whenever he has played, so a surprise move to Barcelona might be on the cards, although he may be sent out on loan to a Premier League or Championship club if that does not materialise.
In terms of midfielders, European giants PSG, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are all potential suitors for the out-of-favour club-record signing Ndombele and Winks might have to depart to make room for Hojbjerg and help fund incomings. And lastly, young striker Kazaiah Sterling will likely exit after quiet loan spells at Doncaster Rovers and Leyton Orient this season.
Tanguy Ndombele of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with teammate Serge Aurier of Tottenham Hotspur after scoring their teams first goal which was an own goal scored by Jack Stephens of Southampton (not pictured) during the FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match be
Image credit: Getty Images
If Mourinho rediscovers the managerial nous that has helped him sculpt one of the greatest managerial CVs of all time and controls his habit of badmouthing his players in the media then Spurs will be fine. However, that is a big if. Despite the reluctant spender Daniel Levy making Mourinho one of the highest-paid managers in the world, the Portuguese gaffer might not actually have a particularly big budget to strengthen. Considering that he tends to look for specific players to fit into a rigid system that could be a problem, but still coming sixth irrespective of all their issues and the talismanic goal machine Harry Kane offer Tottenham Hotspur fans some cause for optimism.