A month is a long time in football. Not much time has passed since Tottenham were being spoken about as title challengers, Jose Mourinho masterfully turning Harry Kane into a counter-attacking weapon, but they’ve slowly been found out. And without prime John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho to call upon, falling back on his trusted 'grind out a 1-0 win' has proved disastrous.

More than any player, Tottenham need a tactical refresh. Taking a one-goal lead and inviting the opposition onto them hasn’t worked – if it had, Spurs would still be top of the pile and looking rosy for a first league title since 1961. But this isn’t an article about tactics. It’s about players that could arrive in January and improve Tottenham. Let’s get to it.

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Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)

Sabitzer wants Tottenham. Tottenham want Sabitzer. The Austrian announced himself to Mourinho with a starring role in Leipzig’s Champions League demolition of Spurs back when we were just being introduced to the novel coronavirus and, after some muted interest in the summer, this is the time for both parties to push their chips into the middle of the table.

Sabitzer combines the defensive skills of Moussa Sissoko with the attacking craft of Christian Eriksen. He possesses a tremendous strike and is capable of playing on the right flank as well as his more familiar central role. Meanwhile, it's the perfect chance for Daniel Levy to play his favourite game, hardball, with Sabitzer's contract expiring in 18 months' time and no sign of an extension.

Marcel Sabitzer

Image credit: Getty Images

Milan Skriniar (Inter)

'Hang on… you’re just naming players that are already linked with Spurs.'

Guilty. But if we’re buying for Mourinho’s Tottenham, then there’s few players who fit the brief better than Skriniar. While he fought his way into Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 master plan at Inter, he remains best suited to a system revolving around the defence – sitting in and awaiting opposition attacks.

Tottenham need another central defensive option that Mourinho trusts. He has little faith in Davinson Sanchez, while Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon are still in the development phase. Skriniar, like all good January signings, is supposedly available for a discount: £45 million to be precise. We're not sure if that represents good value in the current market, but Spurs are surely aware by now that they can't throw away more points from winning positions.

Milan Skriniar of Inter

Image credit: Getty Images

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

You wanted something more outlandish…

Grealish almost joined Tottenham in 2018 before the Villa owners stepped in to block the move, a decision that proved very wise, with the 25-year-old now commanding a price tag north of £80 million. Spurs are unlikely to throw around that sort of money, while Mourinho probably doesn’t approve of his postage stamp shin pads, but a move does make a lot of sense… on paper at least.

Grealish is the best player outside the big six, helping Villa sit among the elite as we head into 2021, and would help expand Spurs’ goal threat and creativity outlets. He ranks first in chances created this season, could play at the head of a midfield three or on either flank, and offers a different threat to Kane and Son. Still, we don’t actually think he would fancy a move to play under Mourinho, even if it makes sense from our sofa, so we’ll file this one under ‘the future’ and move on.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish celebrates scoring against West Ham

Image credit: Getty Images

Adama Traore (Wolves)

The Spaniard has had a difficult year. No longer renowned for tearing up the league’s best left-backs, Traore is without a goal in 21 appearances for club and country this season.

But Spurs need a refresh on the right wing after seeing the goal-shy Steven Bergwijn, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela falter. Traore may be nothing more than a distraction, giving Kane and Son that little bit more room to operate, but that might just be enough. Traore remains the most terrifying force in full flow in the Premier League and needs a change to get back to his explosive best.

Adama Traore of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa

Image credit: Getty Images

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