Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
If you’re following Tottenham, you’re probably aware that they haven’t saw fit to conduct any transfer business (besides a striker coming home from a previous loan) — so obviously, I won’t be covering that. I will, however, discuss my overall thoughts of the team, the guy(s) being targeted heavily, and potential transfers to be brought in.
- First and foremost, I’ll state the obvious — Tottenham finished 3rd behind only a profilic (MAN) City team that literally rewrote the books, and a marginal (Man) United team who squeaked through the league by parking the bus and scraping out 1-0 games. Overall, I still think that this is a loaded team (with both English nationals, and generally speaking) and this is me (probably) being nitpicky.
- Goals: The difference between the 2017-2018 and the 2016-2017 season was pretty striking (no pun intended), Spurs scored 12 less goals this year as opposed to 2016-2017. Full disclosure: If there’s such thing as a “down year” I think this was Tottenham’s in front of goal, but by no means was it a bad year. They still had an exceptional goal difference (and obviously they finished 3rd place in the table). Tottenham has gotten contract extensions from all of their major pieces going forward Dele Alli, Eriksen, Heung-Min Son, Kane until at least 2022, giving them a lot of stability in this area. I also think that Pochettino not pursuing any additional goal scoring threats, he’s sending a huge message to his team that he believes they will do the work that needs to be done.
- Goals against: There was also a similar difference between goals allowed over the seasons exactly 12 more goals than in the 2016-2017 season. If I have one concern going forward for Tottenham its going to be in the back, Tottenham were able to avoid anything major from losing Kyle Walker to City, but I have some concerns about transfer targets for other players.
- Toby Alderweireld – Manchester United are reportedly very interested in Alderweireld, who is said to be very interested in return. This creates a situation that as Tottenham (or a fan), I’m probably not thrilled about. If Alderweireld does want the move, they probably should seek to maximize their potential gain from the transfer, Alderweirald’s contract is up at the end of the 2018-2019 season. So, if Tottenham denies him the opportunity to move, he could potentially walk away (to any club) for free after one more season. They also have to balance not letting him walk away too cheaply because he wants to go — that being said, I’m pretty sure they want to avoid the “Arsenal problem” if possible. The other option is to try and get him interested in staying by offering a new contract to him, which might be enough to appease him because a good portion of the first 11 has gotten new contracts (likely with some pretty substantial pay raises).
- Centerbacks – the problem with waiting to see what happens in the summer transfer window is that things get super hectic in the last weeks of the transfer window. I also think that as more and more targets are snatched up by teams bringing in a multitude of new players, I think it will inflate prices pretty dramatically. That being said — here are a few targets I think Tottenham could easily snag.
- Marcos Rojo/Chris Smalling/Eric Baily – The rumor mill suggests that if Mourinho wants to sign another central defender (right now — the discussion is Harry McGuire) that Manchester United will be required to sell a player. That might mean if Tottenham is willing to play ball, they might even be able to do a players swap. If you’ve been following United at all, you know that Mourinho hasn’t been happy with any pairing of these centerbacks but despite this — United has one of the lowest concession rates in the league. This suggests to me that there is more of a personality conflict that an actual shortfall in skill, consistency, or work ethic.
- Declan Rice – West Ham have brought in two centerbacks with the goal of shoring up their defense after 2 releasing 2 aging backs. While Rice was on the periphere for WHU last season, he played a good number of games for the Hammers and played well. He’s recently been called up to the Irish national team, and is still barely 19. I think that West Ham could be persuaded to part with him for far less than an “established” centerback and think that he would flourish under the tutelage of Jan Vertoghen, Ben Davies, Kiernan Trippier, and Alderweirld (if he opts to stay). I’m probably a little biased towards youth players and yes this option has more risk, but it could potentially also have more upside. The West Ham defensive statistics were terrible, but I don’t think Rice is at fault, and is likely to improve fairly substantially.
- Axel Tuanzebe – Before you laugh me off, hear me out. Much like the other defenders in the Manchester United stables, their goals allowed has been very minimal and everyone there has a short chain to keep their starting role. Tuanzebe has made a couple of appearances for the first team, and although I think United would be unlikely to sell him straight out for cheap; I think that they would consider a loan, and honestly, probably jump at the chance to put him out on loan at a Premier League squad. He’s raw, definitely, but I also think that it’s very apparent that Mourinho has lots of faith in him and regardless of your feelings of Mourinho, he does have a record of managing very successful teams.
- Giangiacomo Magnani – Juve has a habit of stockpiling youth talent and trying to earn back some wages sending them out on loan. I just want to clarify I have no feelings in regards to this policy, I think much of it is a reflection of the “Italian Way” they have the first team squad, and the most senior youth team is U19. This means that if they want first team development, they have to put the youth players on loan. Juve just bought Magnani for ~$5M, but they may be willing to part with his services (in return for Premier League soccer) if wages and a “paltry” $1M-$2M loan fee were offered.
- Abdou Diallo – Diallo is the France U21 team captain (yes — I am aware he’s 22, the national youth teams go by two year cycles, some players are eligible until their 23rd birthday) and was just acquired by Borussia Dortmund for about $27.5M. While they spent a good sum of money on him, I see this as more building for the future with some of their other centerbacks getting older. As a result, I think that Dortmund could be persuaded to part with him on a loan deal (I expect that there would be a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that he would play a reasonable amount of first team soccer — but I also don’t think it would be difficult to guarantee). This move would not be as cheap as some of the other options, but it might provide more quality as well.