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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Why Ten Hag is living on borrowed time

After an encouraging first season, Manchester United...

This Is What Tottenham Should Do to Reverse the Decline

From 2014-2019 they were every football fan’s “second team”. High pressing, high intensity and a possession based game has made this team what it was. The team I am referring to is Tottenham Hotspur of course.

Young, vibrant and energetic this Tottenham team were a match for any on their day. A crop of young English talent with the likes of Harry Kane, Delle Ali, Kyle Walker, but also Danish midfielder Christian Erikssen made the North Londoners one of the best, not just in England but in Europe too.

A memorable Champions League run in the 2018/2019 season where they went all the way to the final only to lose to Premier League rivals Liverpool 2-0, will remain in many a Tottenham fan’s memory.

That night in Istanbul as good as it was for The Lillywhites, was arguably the beginning of the end. At the start of this season, the North London club just didn’t seem to be their usual selves.

In this five year period that Argentine Pochettino was in charge, it yielded zero trophies despite playing a style of football that left fans and neutrals a like in awe.

The start of this campaign saw dropped points against teams that they didn’t expect to drop points against. There was also talks of dressing room unrest which were threatening to unravel Tottenham Hotspur to their very core, stalwarts Vertongen and Alderwireld appeared to be unhappy and set to leave White Hart Lane.

The two Belgian’s were seen as one of the best defensive partnerships in the Premier League and were crucial in helping now ex manager Pochettino in helping setting up Spurs the way they were set up.

Whereas Alderwireld, would pen a new deal and stay at the club his defensive partner in crime Vertongen will be leaving at the end of the current campaign and ending his eight year association with the club.

The 33-year old Vertongen will follow Englishman Kyle Walker out of North London after the former right-back left Tottenham in 2017 for rivals Manchester City, stating his desire to win trophies. With these two players leaving and England captain Harry Kane hinting that he could move in the future, the question is, is this once golden Tottenham team soon to be in a state of decline?

After the sacking of the popular Mauricio Pochettino, new manager Jose Mourinho has failed to push Spurs up the league table. At time of writing, the North London club are languishing ninth in the Premier League.

Wolves, Sheffield United, Leicester and arch-rivals Arsenal are all above Tottenham in the league table. When former Espanyol coach Pochettino took over, this was one thing he changed after Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal finished above their North London rivals for 20 seasons running, Tottenham Hotspur finished above Arsenal throughout the 48-year old’s tenure in North London.

The problem is that Tottenham seem to be too easy to play against. Jose Mourinho’s teams, are never usually that (easy to play against). Hardworking, robust and organised are some of the words to describe the way Jose’s teams are.

Question is, does the former Manchester United manager have players of those qualities at his disposal? From the league table it appears not. Record signing, Tanguy Dembele gets regularly targeted by his manager in the press, for his performances Juan Forsythe hasn’t had a look since Mourinho has been manager nor has Harry Winks.

This Tottenham Hotspur team is quite clearly, a team in need of major surgery. In January new manager Jose Mourinho did bring in Steve Bergwijn from PSV for £25.4 million as well as Portuguese midfielder Gedson Fernandes on an 18 month loan deal.

Even when Tottenham were performing to a reasonable standard on the pitch (three semi-final appearances in domestic cups, a Champions League final and consistent Champions League qualification), their team was missing players then.

A good centre-back is needed to help the erratic Davison Sanchez. Dayot Umpechano the Frenchman who is in the last year of his contract, could and I think should be the man that Tottenham look to fill their defensive void.

Kalidou Kouliaby for example, is expensive and would no doubt have high wage demands too. The Napoli captain, is getting on the wrong side of his 20’s too (29), so a younger option is needed. Umpechano at 21, has time on his side to develop further and comes with European experience too.

The other pressing issue is in attack, Harry Kane can’t carry the goal scoring burden on his own. Reinforcements are desperately needed. Edison Cavani is available on a free, but his age and high wages means that Tottenham should stay clear of any deal.

A loan deal for either Barcelona forward Antoine Greizman, or the unpredictable Ousmane Dembele could be a master stroke. It would come with risk too, but with a record £1 billion spent on their Tottenham Hotspur stadium, risks in the transfer market will need to be made.

As good as Tottenham were from 2014-19, poor planning in the transfer market in this period and not signing players in transfer windows will cost them for many seasons. Attack and defence is in need of serious improvement, but a general freshening up is needed on the whole too.

This Tottenham Hotspur team is so far behind their rivals, they need at lest five signings to get back to anywhere near where they were in  the 2018-2019 season . With the cost of the new stadium and continual costs of the stadium, it will most likely not make it financially viable for Spurs to spend money on new players. Dark times are  ahead Spurs fans, dark times ahead.

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