As Antonio Conte is at pains to tell us, Tottenham are going to struggle until he (or someone else) is handed a significant budget in order to clear the decks and rebuild.
This lot need an upgrade but it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s five lads to build around.
*You’ll notice Harry Kane isn’t included as we’re not at all convinced he will still be a Tottenham player beyond the summer. Sorry, this is supposed to be the cheery article of the two.
A centre-back with poise, who’s excellent on the ball and has got that dawg in him. He’s an excellent watch for all those reasons and one of few Tottenham players you could imagine playing a significant part in winning the biggest trophies in football, partly of course because he’s already won the biggest of them all, as he played close to every minute of the knockout rounds of Argentina’s World Cup win.
Whether he wins the biggest club trophies with Spurs or elsewhere depends on if the club recruits new players of his calibre. Having got a taste for it, you can’t imagine him sticking around if glory isn’t at least a possibility.
A wonderfully smooth operator not given his due for his very speedy adaptation to become a top Premier League midfielder. He had the look of a player you would put money on to be entirely overawed on his arrival in the English top flight last January, before leaving (possibly even by now) and thriving again elsewhere.
But he’s made for the hustle and bustle. He keeps the ball magnificently, breaks the press with a turn, dribble or pass, and sniffs out danger about as well as anyone. No wonder Liverpool are circling.
When you watch Tottenham games on TV, as they play in their acoustically designed stadium, it’s awfully quiet unless the Spurs fans are groaning or Kulusevski is on the ball. They know something is going to happen when he’s got it. And so do we. He will inevitably try to beat the defender in front of him either with the ball at his feet or through a one-two with a teammate.
He’s one of few modern-day wingers who start, and tend to stay, very wide, and he’s wonderfully direct. Called the “present and future” by Conte, at £25m he will be an absolute snip when they secure him permanently this summer.
Described as ‘the future of Senegal’, Sarr made two appearances at the World Cup having just turned 20 and has done more in three senior appearances for Spurs this season than the man tipped to be one of the Premier League signings of the summer in Yves Bissouma.
He’s been played as a defensive midfielder by Conte because if you play in midfield for Conte you have to be a defensive midfielder, but has shown in his brief appearances more of a propensity to get forward from deep than his more illustrious competition for the role.
Football fans love a c*nt of their own, and this guy is one of the biggest around, illustrating that fact perfectly against Arsenal in the North London derby. He was on the pitch for less than 20 minutes but had spread joy around the stadium before even coming on as he snubbed compatriot Gabriel Martinelli’s offer of a fist-bump, before slapping Aaron Ramsdale upside the head at his first opportunity to get physical with the opposition.
He’s also a very talented footballer, as illustrated with his stunning goals for Brazil at the World Cup. An injury-free run and a manager that trusts him will be required, but he could become a real hero to Spurs fans through a combination of his talent and nonsense.
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