Tottenham in January: Eriksen Replacement Needed
January is a difficult time when considering transfers. Whilst some clubs thrive on making much-needed changes, other clubs prefer to wait until the summer to make better moves. Tottenham are prudent to have seemingly decided to stick with their current squad. In truth, only a replacement for Christian Eriksen is needed; a calibre of player not easily secured in January. Meanwhile, the club has loaned out many young squad players for valuable match experience. This is promising to see.
Stagnancy of Incomings
Currently, Spurs have made no incoming transfers in the January transfer window. This can only be a good sign for the club, some much-needed squad stability. After all, Spurs have some top class talent in every position. Harry Kane is on the verge of scoring 100 Premier League goals for the club. Hugo Lloris keeps clean sheets with the assistance of the now returning Toby Alderweireld. This is merely stating just a few of the many talented players. Therefore, it is no surprise that there hasn’t been much activity in terms of incoming players. It is difficult to find a target suitable to bolster the squad. Even hunting better players is hard, since they will often face the prospect of having to compete with the aforementioned players to get into the starting eleven.
The Eriksen Effect
However, the major area that Spurs could strengthen is a replacement for Eriksen. His recent illness against Southampton troubled the team performance. There was a lack of creativity as the team tried to adapt to his absence. His passing connects the attacking force, always offering for the ball. His advance playmaker role is vital to the creation of chances, of moving the ball with purpose. It is important that he is the dominant creator in the side. After all, a team full of playmakers can create havoc.
But, when taken out of the side it looked unlikely that anybody could fill the void. After all, it is a position Eriksen has made his own. Therefore, Spurs need to find a similar player, with the ability to dictate the forward thrust of the game like he does. This could be a young player who they need to develop. But, more likely it is to be an expensive transfer. If Levy truly wants to get the best investment out of this club, he needs to secure this creative player.
Despite Pochettino appearing to be happy with his squad, there are some rumours that are worth analysing.
The most interesting rumour is that of Lucas Moura; a development that’s become particularly prevalent after the deal for Malcom was ruled out by Gus Poyet’s Bordeaux. The Brazilian winger is said to be unhappy at PSG. He could make a much happier home at Tottenham, should he choose to join the club ahead of other clubs. He offers pace, trickery and attacking intent from wide positions. If such a move were to go ahead, it would surely spell the end of Georges-Kévin N’Koudou’s time at the club.
David Neres, of Ajax, could be another target for the club. At just 20 years old, he would fit the club’s blueprint of developing younger talented players. This would contribute to the overwhelming number of Ajax players to transfer to Spurs, most recently including Davinson Sanchez. Making his name at Sao Paulo, the young Brazilian then transferred to Ajax. He is another wide player, with fantastic skills and the pace to burn past defenders. His technical ability is superb for such a young player and would make an exciting transfer.
Youth Academy graduates
Marcus Edwards, a fan favourite, will now be able to test his mettle at Championship club Norwich. This will be an interesting move indeed. After all, this is his first loan spell, after graduating from the Tottenham youth academy. He is a player that may well break into the first team in the next few years. In fact, this is the loan spell that will really indicate his future at the club. He is a good player technically, with excellent dribbling skill, and with a good shot and ability to beat defenders.
Ryan Loft has been loaned out to Exeter until the end of the season. The tall striker has been out on loan quite frequently over the years. He is yet to truly flourish at the club but has shown some promise after scoring 13 goals in 22 appearances for the under 18’s in 2015/6. A loan spell offers him the chance to develop his career chances.
After being recalled from Sheffield United, Carter-Vickers was immediately loaned out to Ipswich Town. This is another positive loan move, giving the young defender a chance to start afresh. He started well at Sheffield, scoring on his debut in fact, but ran into a period of poor form. This new move ensures he is able to maintain his levels of competitive match play.
As aforementioned, Nkoudou is currently on loan at Burnley. This is a move that was generally welcomed by most fans. After all, the player was not getting much game time. In truth, he has much to offer the club, if only given the chance. His attributes can match that of the transfer targets that Spurs seem to be going for. For example, he is a wide player, with plenty of speed, able to cut inside or get around defenders to cross and shoot. His chances have been limited to cameos and less important matches. Thus, he hasn’t yet flourished at the club. This loan deal to Burnley may well allow him to prove his worth.
The window is yet to close, but it is unlikely that there will be much more activity from Spurs. It is perhaps not surprising since they have such a wonderful set of players. But, ideally, the squad has a space for another creative midfielder to replace Eriksen. Who will be the ideal candidate? Whoever it may be, it is likely to be a player that Levy needs to pay a large fee for. Furthermore, it may even raise the question of needing to break the current wage-structure at the club.