What impact will the injury crisis have on Tottenham Hotspur’s season have on Ange Postecoglou’s first January transfer window at the club?
Spurs fans should now focus more on bolstering Ange Postecoglou’s injured team during the January transfer window than on enhancing it moving forward.
With Cristian Romero still suspended and ten first-team players sidelined with injuries, Postecoglou’s Spurs are currently without a player on the field.
New technical director Johan Lange, chief scout Rob Mackenzie, head of football insights and strategy Frederik Leth, and head of football Fabio Paratici will undoubtedly have some advisory role in fixing and improving the Australian team’s roster before the head coach is presented with lists of targets to choose from.
Postecoglou was questioned about whether transfer talks had started amid the injury issue during a recent press conference.
Images from Man United’s Premier League match against Chelsea
Since it hasn’t been staggered, I suppose the difficulty we faced was that they arrived all at once. Regarding January, that is well out of the plan. The Tottenham manager stated, “Johan has joined and he’s leading that in terms of all the background work.”
Johan has been driving the work in the background and has brought in some individuals to assist him in that area, but as January approaches and I truly understand what our needs are at this point, my engagement kind of ramps up to that level. When the moment is appropriate, we’ll collaborate with him.”
Once more, this is an area that probably won’t require any adjustments in January unless the market exhibits some unusual behavior. Ryan Sessegnon is still sidelined following hamstring surgery; Postecoglou has Pedro Porro and Emerson Royal on the right and Destiny Udogie and Ben Davies on the left.
Sessegnon will probably go out on loan if he returns within the next two months, though Udogie’s recent persistent injury concerns will be keenly watched.
This is the one area where a departure needs to take place and at the moment no incomings are needed. Hugo Lloris has become a peripheral figure at the club, involved in training but not traveling with the squad to matches. His contract expires this summer and the long-serving former captain needs to find a club in January otherwise he will have wasted a year at the end of his career.
Otherwise, Spurs are currently set in the goalkeeping department with Guglielmo Vicario impressing as the new man between the sticks with solid back-up from Fraser Forster and academy product Brandon Austin. Alfie Whiteman remains out injured after his unfortunate ankle problem picked up in pre-season.
The summer might be a time for movement as Postecoglou looks again at the options beyond Vicario but there’s little need to change now unless a strong free agent emerges on the market.
A priority area for improvement in the January transfer window. It was after the arrival of Micky van de Ven in the summer and then even more so when Postecoglou approved the sale of Davinson Sanchez to Galatasaray after the English summer window had closed.
“It’s fair to say we are a little bit light there, but, at the same time, I thought for Davinson it was a good opportunity where he could get a long-term contract. We needed to rebuild and change this squad. There was no point in us just tinkering around the edges. We need to do meaningful work, and it was never going to get done in just one window,” Postecoglou told football. London back then.
“Just as important was to create the opportunity for us now to go in January, or the subsequent windows and bolster up that area. It’s fair to say we need, probably, another centre-back within the squad. Although, we’ve got players who are fairly functional in being able to do us a job in there.
“We’ve got young Ash in, who is working hard and improving all the time. For us, to hold onto him for some sort of security would have been a missed opportunity. We need to change this squad, rebuild this team, and that was the reason we allowed Davinson to go.”
Spurs looked at a string of English defenders during the summer window, including the likes of Lloyd Kelly, Trevoh Chalobah, and Tosin Adarabioyo. Since then, Chalobah and Adarabioyo have had injury problems, the latter only returning last weekend for Fulham after groin surgery while the Chelsea centre-back remains out with a hamstring problem that has sidelined him all season. He suffered a setback a couple of weeks ago when nearing a return.
With Tottenham’s current issues with hamstring injuries, a big-money move for Chalobah, who has five years remaining on his contract at Chelsea with an option for another 12 months, at this time would seem to be less likely than it was in the summer.
In contrast, Kelly has started most of Bournemouth’s Premier League matches since the south coast club rejected an approach from Spurs to sign the now 25-year-old late in the summer window. Like Adarabioyo, his contract ends this summer yet he has not only played at centre-back and left-back for the Cherries this season but has also captained the side on a couple of occasions.
He fits the Postecoglou mold in being confident in possession with a turn of pace, however Bournemouth value the player highly and is expected to attempt to tie him down to a new contract.
Spurs have long liked Marc Guehi at Crystal Palace but January would seem an unlikely time for a big-money departure for the England defender. Everton’s Ben Godfrey has also been linked with Spurs and the 25-year-old England international is expected to be allowed to leave this winter after being edged out of the team under Sean Dyche.
Godfrey’s 21-year-old team-mate Jarrad Branthwaite is one of those keeping him out of the Toffees side and has also been linked with Tottenham but appears to be a key player under Dyche, playing almost every minute.
Depending on when Van de Ven is expected to return in the new year, it could push Spurs into lining up a deal for a new defender early in the window, not always the easiest window to do such a thing. Even Ashley Phillips is expected to be out until near the end of December with his ankle injury.
Tottenham could go down the foreign route now with one space currently available in their foreign player numbers but they could open up two more spots by not registering Lloris or Ivan Perisic, who they expect to be out for the season. The north London club has been credited with an interest in Genoa’s 21-year-old center-back Radu Dragusin among other top clubs.
One of last season’s big targets was Edmond Tapsoba but he signed a bumper new five-year deal at Bayer Leverkusen just two months ago.
Some fans have speculated on a potential January recall for Joe Rodon, who is enjoying an excellent loan at Leeds United, but his manager there Daniel Farke has made it clear that that is not an option in his deal.
In terms of outgoings, Postecoglou cannot currently allow anyone to go unless the Spurs bring two new faces in through the door. Eric Dier has only six months or so left of his contract so is unlikely to take a permanent move at this point, while a loan move does not benefit Tottenham apart from getting some or all of his wages off the books.
Lange and his team are expected to provide Postecoglou with a list of new potential center-back stars for him to decide which will fit his team the best.