Blogs | Fresh Spurs - Part 2

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Spurs draw first blood over Chelsea in League Cup

Tottenham Hotspur edged closer to a first title in over a decade with a slim 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Wembley.

The Lilywhites have not won a silverware of any kind since clinching the EFL Cup in 2008.

Harry Kane’s first-half penalty gave Spurs a slender advantage ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Referee Michael Oliver awarded the 26th-minute spot-kick after thorough consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for offside and keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s foul on the England skipper.

Both sides were guilty of squandering chances in a strongly fought contest.

Maurizio Sarri will be confident of turning things around in a fortnight on Thursday, 24 January after encouraging signs in the match, though.

The Blues struck the woodwork twice in the first half through N’Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Chelsea faithful will be hoping they don’t ruin those missed chances in the corresponding fixture.

Andreas Christensen also missed a glaring opportunity from six yards after the break while Arrizabalaga produced a fine save from Kane as this semi-final remains in the balance.

The victory means Tottenham have won three successive games against Chelsea in all competitions for the first time since a run of five between March 1961 and September 1963.

The Blues, meanwhile, have failed to return from their last three trips to Wembley triumphantly.

Both sides are aiming to catch Liverpool – the record champions with eight.

Spurs have won the accolade four times and finished as runner-up the same number of time.

Chelsea, on the other hand, has one more than their London neighbours but one less second-place.

Tottenham interested in Ligue 1 midfielder

Tottenham are reportedly interested in signing Morgan Sanson from Marseille.

According to L’Equipe, per Talksport, the north Londoners have been observing Sanson for some time now.

Sanson is a versatile midfielder and is being viewed as a replacement for the departing Mousa Dembele.

He is valued at around £18million (€20m) by his current club which is very much affordable for the Lilywhites.

Spurs will be clearly short of manpower in the middle of the pack when Dembele departs.

The north London side will be left with Harry Winks, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama as deep central options and Dele Alli and Cristian Eriksen as more advanced players.

Pochettino is desperate to add to his team having failed to do so last summer. And 24-year-old Sanson could just be the man to kick start a potential hectic winter shopping spree.

Spurs still have their eyes on the Premier League with the faithful hoping some reinforcements will keep that dream alive.

Sanson is versatile with the ability to slot vertically through the midfield, defensively or centrally.

He could also do a decent job in a more advanced role behind the striker. This season, he’s been deployed in a variety of positions but predominantly in the box-to-box role.

There he started 12 times out of his 27 appearances across all competitions. He’s been utterly productive in that role, scoring three times and lacing two for teammates.

With the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen already competing for the spot behind Harry Kane, Sanson will be very much at home see slightly behind.

Since moving to Marseille in 2017, the ex-France youth international scored 16 goals and created a further 14.

Sanson began his playing career at amateur side Bourges before spells at Le Mans and Montpellier.

Whilst Sanson is clearly a player with qualities, fans will be hungry for a midfielder of a higher calibre, especially if the club are looking to close the gap between them and Manchester City and Liverpool.

Would Sanson get in or near either Pep or Klopp’s squads? I seriously doubt it and therein lies the issue with Tottenham and their recruitment policy of late. The same could be said for Nkoudou and Sissoko.

Spurs need to make signings, but they need to ensure they are of a certain calibre and that they are clear improvements on their current options.

Kane and Southgate rightly receive World Cup recognition

Football may not have returned home but the Three Lions’ remarkable run in Russia hasn’t gone unnoticed.

 A young England team, led by Garry Southgate reached the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in style.

The unheralded Three Lions impressed at the Mundial – the closest the British nation have had to that famous all-conquering winning side in 1966.

In recognition of that superb campaign, Southgate and his skipper Harry Kane were rewarded by the royal family.

While the manager received an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours list for 2019, Kane got MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Southgate, who took over as permanent manager in November 2016 masterminded their first foray into the last four in 28 years.

Kane, meanwhile, struck six times to clinch the tournament’s Golden Boot.

“It’s quite surreal, really,” the 25-year-old said as quoted by Goal. “It’s been a great year for club and country. It’s hard to put into words really,” the Spurs striker said.

“I’m very passionate about our country, very patriotic and going back to England, it shows how good the summer was for the whole nation, not just from my point of view, but what it did bringing everyone together.”

Other footballers to be awarded honours include Rangers and Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley, who is made an MBE, while former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who survived the Munich air disaster in 1958, is awarded an OBE.

Former Arsenal and Football Association chairman David Dein picks an MBE while there is a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for outgoing Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Elsewhere Ex-West Ham striker and current Show Racism The Red Card vice-president Leroy Rosenior was also handed an MBE for services to tackling discrimination in sport.

These stats show Tottenham were ‘lucky’ to finish in the top 4 ahead of Arsenal last season

 

Injuries cost Tottenham Hotspur £6.1 million last season as stars such as Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama sat on the sidelines. However, their relative luck with injuries actually helped them secure Champions League qualification.

North London rivals Arsenal spent £12.9 million on injured players as they finished outside the top 4 for a second consecutive year, with Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil combining to cost the Gunners £5.9 million – almost equal to Spurs’ entire injury bill. Overall, Premier League teams paid out £151.2 million in wages to injured players.

A new tool from FreeSuperTips analyses official 2017-18 Premier League data and reveals the dirtiest team and players, as well as those who were unluckiest with injuries – and the impact that this had on each club.

West Brom were the dirtiest side, racking up 73 yellow cards and several missed games through suspension in a campaign that ultimately saw the club relegated to the Championship.

West Ham were among the unluckiest teams when it came to injuries, with their injury bill totalling a whopping £12.6 million. The calculator reveals that they would have finished ten league places higher and been in the Champions League next season, if not for injury.

Name Team Name Reds Yellows Fouls Points
Wilfred Ndidi Leicester 2 6 60 280
Oriol Romeu Southampton 0 11 53 273
Granit Xhaka Arsenal 0 10 57 257
Ashley Barnes Burnley 0 10 53 253
Abdoulaye Doucouré Watford 0 10 44 244
Jonathan Hogg Huddersfield 1 8 32 242
Glenn Murray Brighton 0 9 60 240
Simon Francis Bournemouth 1 8 24 234
Luka Milivojevic Crystal Palace 0 8 69 229
Idrissa Gueye Everton

Is Jack Grealish The Answer?

As we approach transfer deadline day on the earlier date of August 9, it finally seems Spurs might be able to step up their attempts to sign key targets, one of those being Jack Grealish.

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It has emerged via the Telegraph that Grealish is keen on making a move to Tottenham happen before the deadline, in favour of transfers to South London to either Fulham or Crystal Palace. The prospect of working with Mauricio Pochettino and Champions League football are the reasons for his preference it is understood.

It is all very well the player being keen on a move to Spurs, but will Grealish be a success at Tottenham is he makes a switch rumoured to be worth upwards of £30m?

If you sat down with Jack Grealish and asked him about the season just gone (after asking him why he wears his socks round his ankles), I am sure he would say it was below his best and that he is capable of much more. Out until November with kidney problems, the Villa man made 27 Championship appearances, yielding pretty average results, three goals and five assists. Does that scream at you, ‘we need to pay upwards of £30m for this man, he is ready for the step up of playing for a top four club’? It doesn’t to me.

However, there are other aspects of the proposed transfer to look at before writing Grealish off due to his sub-par statistics from last season. First of all, he is only 22 years of age, nowhere near reaching his peak. There is a lot still to learn and a lot to be improved upon. With guidance from Mauricio Pochettino, Grealish could become a top drawer attacking midfielder.

Despite scoring just three times and providing five assists last season, the Englishman is more than capable of coming up with a little bit of magic when needed. Take his strike with five minutes to go against Cardiff in April for example to win the game.

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You will often see Grealish get a little frustrated on the pitch and his head may drop for periods. It only takes a good coach to turn this anger and frustration into passion and hunger for success. Mauricio Pochettino could be the man to do that.

In summary, spending upwards of £30m on an attacking midfielder that had an average season in the Championship in a team that failed to win promotion seems like a huge gamble. And it is. However, with the potential this youngster has, it could prove to be money well spent if Daniel Levy can land his signature for the right price.

Pochettino Must Push To Sign Anthony Martial

Mauricio Pochettino signed a new contract earlier this year, and whilst Tottenham will never be able to compete with the top clubs financially, they do need to take an opportunity when it arises, and Anthony Martial wanting to leave Manchester United in exactly that, an opportunity – one that cannot be missed.

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It has been a long time since Martial indicated he wanted out, and no clubs appear to have made a serious move for the player as of yet.

Martial has been one of many victims of Jose Mourinho’s negative football tactics, but the potential is there for all to see. Should he come to play for a manager like Pochettino I feel we would really see one of the best young talents in Europe thrive again.

It’s easy to forget that the former Monaco man is aged just 22. There’s a huge amount of unearthed talent there and he has all the right ingredients to develop into a top player.

Harry Kane is, of course, a top player and getting him to sign an extension will be, without doubt, the best deal of the summer, but Tottenham cannot stop there. Too long, this club has been ‘close’ to winning major trophies, and as well as keeping our main stars, we need to add some top quality to the starting eleven to take us to the next level.

Martial may not do that immediately, but we do not have the budget to sign players, in their prime at the level we need to improve our eleven, instead, we must target players like Martial, who in the right system and coached properly would take the team to the next level and double their value.

Of course, re-signing Gareth Bale would be a dream, but Martial is the realistic alternative. As good as Kane is in attack, there is not enough quality in wide areas to support him.

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If you look at Liverpool and Manchester City last season, much of their success can be attributed to the attacking performances of their wide players, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane – we don’t have a player in that mould currently and Martial could be the next to emerge.

For anything less than £60million, Martial is worth the investment and Tottenham should not hesitate in making their move.

No Signings Yet, Should We Be Worried?

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It’s not unusual is it? It looks like Tottenham will be leaving the bulk of their summer transfer business until the eleventh hour once again, as Daniel Levy looks to pull of a couple of negotiating masterstrokes in the final few weeks of the window.
Usually we would not be worried at this stage in the middle of July if there were no new faces through the door at Hotspur Way. However, with the window closing on Thursday 9th August, and with no deals close, it could the time to start worrying.
The question then is asked, do we need any new players? To that, I would respond with the question, did we win anything last season? Of course we didn’t. There is plenty of room for improvement in this Tottenham squad, in terms of improvement with the current squad of players and with new faces. The areas for improvement are fairly clear-cut in my opinion.
The first would be a back-up striker for Harry Kane. Despite my sympathy for Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen, maybe it is time for a different style of striker. Heung-min Son has proved a success up top at times, so why not buy an out-and-out striker like Son? A player with explosive pace to terrorise defences and offer something a little different to the strong and robust frame of Harry Kane.
Secondly, I would look around for a defensive midfielder. With all the rumours surrounding Mousa Demeble’s future and a potential move to Inter Milan, I feel it would be important to replace him after the season he has had. His departure would leave a gap in talent in our midfield that we must move to fill.
Finally, this one perhaps little more debateable. I back any potential sale of Danny Rose this summer. The complete lack of respect he has shown for Spurs over the past season, stemming from the wage dispute at the start of last season, has been unacceptable, earning himself the nickname of ‘Snake’. Off the back of this, it is important that we are on the lookout for a replacement left-back.
Those are three areas in which I think Tottenham should strengthen before the season starts. It does worry me a little that no steps have been taken to do this thus far, and it could go down to the final hours once again this year. Where do you think Spurs need to strengthen?

Stick or Twist? The Striking Situation At Tottenham

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The Premier League season gets underway on the 11th August, with the transfer window closing at the earlier date of the 9th August, meaning there will be no final day of August drama for Daniel Levy and co as all business will have to be done and dusted before the season starts. So, who will the Tottenham strike-force consist of come the 11th August?

Harry Kane’s contract guarantees the fact that he will lead the forward line as first choice striker for Spurs next term. His £200,000-per-week contract surprised many as the former wage structure was torn up in the process. Kane’s 41 goals in 48 appearances last term proved crucial in guiding Tottenham to a top four finish for the third consecutive season. If we can be sure of one thing for next season, it is that Harry Kane will be first choice striker for Mauricio Pochettino.

All good strikers need effective and efficient backup. Or at least you would think so anyway. The backup provided for Kane has been below par in the past couple of seasons to say the least, and surely it is an area of the squad that needs urgent attention. With two other strikers on the books at the moment, shall Spurs stick or twist going into next season?

Vincent Janssen was brought in as a young and hungry alternative option to Kane, and the signing on paper looked to be an impressive one for £17m from AZ Alkmaar. The Dutchman had fired in an impressive 31 goals in all competitions spread over 49 appearances for AZ and some of those were sublime. As we quickly learned, Janssen’s game is centred around holding the ball up, bringing others into play. His debut came in the opening day 1-1 draw at Everton, where he saw his effort from just a few yards out saved on the line, my feeling is that his confidence took its first big hit at this moment.

Mauricio Pochettino was feeling experimental against Crystal Palace. He played both Kane and Janssen up top in the 1-0 win. Not the perfect partnership judging by those 90 minutes, but it had potential. Janssen’s opportunity to impress came when Kane was injured in mid-September, and the striker led the line for the next few weeks. Despite getting involved heavily in the build-up play, Janssen struggled to find the back of the net and this dry spell continued for the whole season as his confidence took a severe hit over this period. The 24-year-old netted just once from open play in the Premier League and once from open play in the FA Cup against Millwall.

Omission from the 2017-18 Champions League squad seemed to signal the end for Janssen, but a loan move to Fenerbache last September appeared to be one final chance to impress with the potential to revive his Premier League career. However, his season in the Turkish league has been nothing more than average. 17 appearances in all competitions has yielded just five goals for Janssen in what has been an injury hit season. Although he is a favourite of mine and there is nothing more I would like to see than him succeed at Tottenham, it looks more likely than ever that Janssen will be moved on this summer.

That leaves us with last summer’s striking signing Fernando Llorente, who has failed to make the desired impact in North London since arriving from Swansea. Best known for his headed goals and role as a target man, the signing seemed a little puzzling when I looked past his impressive goalscoring record in the Premier League.

Llorente has mainly been used from the bench this season, mostly when the team has been locked in a stalemate or when the team have been chasing the game going into the final minutes. I fully support the idea of throwing on a target man when chasing the game, but if you are going to do it, at least play the man’s strengths! Otherwise, it is simply a wasted substitution. Quite a few times this season, Llorente has been thrown on with minutes to go and we simply haven’t delivered decent quality balls into the box. This is partly why I feel sorry for Llorente, as Spurs simply do not play to his strengths.

As with Janssen, the partnership with Kane was experimented with at one of the toughest places to visit in Europe, the Bernabéu. It proved to be effective as Kane and Llorente linked up well, with Llorente winning all of the knockdowns and first balls as Kane played just behind to benefit from the knockdowns. A 1-1 draw and a point was earned with the potential for this partnership to be developed.

However, as the season has drawn on, the more and more Kane and Llorente play together, the more and more they seem to get in each other’s way, the understanding doesn’t seem to be there. Playing up front on his own hasn’t been much more effective for Llorente. Scoring in a 2-0 away win at his former club Swansea proved to be the Spaniard’s only Premier League goal of the season and a hat-trick against Rochdale in the FA Cup is something Llorente hasn’t been able to build on thus far. Does Llorente have a future at Spurs? I would argue no. He has failed to strike a good partnership with Harry Kane and doesn’t have the desired impact playing up front on his own, with just five goals in all competitions last season.

In answer to the original question, to stick or to twist, I would argue that Spurs should have one last role of the dice in terms of signing a new striker. Ante Rebic, who can play both out on the left and as a striker, has been a name thrown around by Spurs fans following his performances for Croatia at the World Cup, would he be a realistic target?

Kane Signs New Deal: A Contract of Huge Significance

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On Friday, Tottenham broke the news that star striker Harry Kane signed a new and improved contract at White Hart Lane, tying the striker down until 2024 at least. The news not only confirms that the Englishman will not be moving on to pastures new this summer, it also indicates something extremely significant.

Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy didn’t negotiate some of the most impressive deals in football without being stubborn and standing his ground. Widely renowned for being one of the worst people to deal with off the field, Levy has often taken the same, stubborn approach to internal matters, especially when it comes to the subject of player wages.

Smaller basic wages, boosted by sizeable performance-related bonuses, in theory, seems like a sensible way of paying the modern footballer, especially when you consider the fact that some players struggle to find motivation nowadays, as hard as that is to believe. Despite this, Spurs are one of the few clubs to adopt this strategy, and please note that the performance-related incentives are thought to be quite tasty in North London.

The wage structure at Tottenham has been a hot topic for discussion in the past year, and not only amongst fans. Danny Rose openly criticised the wage structure at the start of last season, who was thought to be earning £65,000-per-week at the time. Hugo Lloris was the top earner with £120,000 (including bonuses), followed by Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen on £100,000-per-week. Surprisingly, Moussa Sissoko was reported to be on £95,000-per-week (what?!!). The question of how Tottenham would keep hold of their best players with such a wage structure was presented to Daniel Levy on many occasions. Bonuses appeared to be the answer to a searching question.

Kane’s new deal will see him trouser £200,000-per-week including bonuses, destroying the wage structure that was in place at Spurs just a few days ago. The catalyst for change is the man behind Spurs’ recent Premier League success, Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine held crunch talks with Chairman Levy following the conclusion of the Premier League season, and these have seemed to have had the desired effect. The former Saints boss has emerged with a new contract for himself, the dismissal of the old wage structure, and an increased transfer budget of £200m for this summer. With negotiation skills like that, you would be forgiven for believing that Pochettino was in line to succeed Daniel Levy as Chairman at Tottenham Hotspur.

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The new contract for Harry Kane could be a historic moment in the history of Tottenham Hotspur. The start of a new era. The end of an era where Tottenham couldn’t financially compete with the rest of the big six, an era where Tottenham built up a reputation for selling their best players and an era plagued with mediocrity, although this has changed in recent years. Next season, Tottenham move into a world class 61,000- seater stadium, and it seems that Daniel Levy is taking significant steps to transform Spurs into a consistent title-challenging side. Therefore, don’t be surprised if we see new contracts over the summer for the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, and don’t be too shocked if Spurs were to make a couple of big-money signings before the season starts on 11th August.

This report shows the Tottenham player’s wages – though we are not sure how accurate they are, they are certainly interesting and worth a look.

Why The Sale Of Toby Alderweireld Would Not Be A Betrayal Of The Fans

Tottenham’s reputation of cashing in on top players at the club is a reputation that has not died with successive top four finishes in the eyes of some. However, I believe the club is past this stage.

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Take the sale of Kyle Walker last summer. Some fans were serious when the news broke that the Yorkshireman had been sold to this season’s champions for a hefty £50m. ‘Same old Levy’ and ‘same old Tottenham’ were some of the cries as we watched another top-class player leave North London.

Unfair criticism it turned out to be in my view. Although Kyle Walker wanted to leave Tottenham, according to the Independent, his mind was made up as a result of an ongoing dispute with manager Mauricio Pochettino over fitness. As mentioned in that Independent article, Pochettino doubted Walker’s ability to play two games in one week, something the right-back disagreed with strongly at the time.

The decision to sell the player seemed to be best for both parties. Spurs got their £50m and Walker got to start a fresh with a different manager that maybe doesn’t doubt his fitness in the way Pochettino did. Although it can be viewed as a mistake selling to a direct rival and strengthening their team, the decision seemed to be the correct one to sell Walker. The situation is similar with Toby Alderweireld.

Tottenham had been keen to tie Alderweireld down to a new deal before the end of last season, but negotiations have been in deadlock for some time now. If the player was that keen to sign, he surely would have done so by now.

It has been a frustrating season for the Belgian defender. Not only has he had a couple of fairly lengthy spells out of action due to injury, but he has also seen himself kept out of the team by the solid and effective centre-back partnership of Jan Vertonghen and newcomer Davinson Sanchez. Due to the contract stalemate? Or due to the stellar performances of the pair mentioned before? This is an issue up for debate.

Nonetheless, without Alderweireld, the defensive unit has performed efficiently and effectively over this season, is the Belgian still the integral part of the defence as he once was? Or have we evolved as a team? If the answer to the latter is yes, £50m would be a healthy sum to sell to Manchester United for. However, we are left with the issue of strengthening a direct rival. This is something that needs to be considered carefully by the coaching staff at Spurs, but why not cash in on a player that doesn’t want to commit his long-term future to the club?