6 players Tottenham could sign to give them the depth they need this summer
Tottenham have had a fine league season so far, are currently comfortable in second place and are still looking to catch Chelsea to deliver a shock title win.
However, their season suffered a big setback at the weekend as those pesky lads from Stamford Bridge knocked them out of the FA Cup with a 4-2 victory at Wembley. Spurs were the better side for much of the game, but it was Chelsea’s killer instinct that made the difference in the end – something highlighted by the league leaders’ strength in depth from the bench.
Spurs’ comparative weakness was exposed by the time the full-time whistle had blown. While the Blues were able to bring on Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas to change the game, Tottenham had to rely on the unproven Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Kyle Walker – the latter’s introduction forcing fellow right-back Kieran Trippier to switch to the left.
With that in mind, Spurs need to add some options to their squad this summer. They have a good thing going on under Mauricio Pochettino, but constantly relying on the same small group of players when you’re trying to compete on various fronts is a risky business. These are six players the Lilywhites should look to sign...
Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)
In recent months, Spurs preferred a 3-4-2-1 formation, which has seen Eric Dier join Belgian duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in the backline. Dier is a good player, but his ideal position is as a defensive central midfielder and he has sometimes proven vulnerable in central defence. Spurs should, therefore, think about bolstering their first choice defensive trio – and there’s no better potential addition than Southampton’s Van Dijk.
The 25-year-old Netherlands international has been an absolute revelation in the Premier League since he joined Saints from Celtic in 2015, and could easily have been in the PFA team of the season had he not been injured earlier in the year.
Van Dijk’s displays in the top flight have attracted attention from the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, but Spurs should do all they can to beat their rivals to his signature. Tottenham signed Victor Wanyama from St. Mary’s last season and stole Alderweireld from under Saints’ noses the year before that, so it wouldn’t go down well, but Van Dijk is one of few players who could actually improve a defence that's already the meanest in the Premier League.
Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht)
Spurs are pretty well-equipped in central midfield, with Mousa Dembele and Wanyama forming arguably the best pairing in the Premier League this season, plus Dier and the currently-injured Harry Winks providing able backup. But if they want to compete at the very top, they’re going to need even more quality (and someone to replace Dembele in the long-term – he turns 30 in the summer).
That replacement could come in the form of his compatriot Tielemans. The 19-year-old Anderlecht star is already a top player and, like Dembele, can play in a deep-lying role or further forward if he’s asked to do so.
Tottenham have been linked with Tielemans before – but they are far from the only team interested. Come this summer the midfielder will be in demand, so they’ll have to move fast to bring him in.
What Spurs have going for them is an existing Belgian contingent that could be used to attract the youngster. Dembele, Alderweireld and Vertonghen are already at White Hart Lane and will know Tielemans from national team duties. That leverage could be exploited to give Spurs the edge in the race to sign him.
Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)
The absence of Danny Rose through injury has highlighted Spurs’ left-back position as one of their weakest in terms of back-up
Danny Rose's absence through injury for the past couple of months has highlighted Spurs’ left-back position as one of their weakest in terms of backup. Ben Davies is a decent player, but he lacks Rose's attacking ability. The Welshman signed a new contact at White Hart Lane recently, but it’s hard to imagine him ever making the left-back berth his own.
Pochettino & Co. are said to be looking at Fulham’s Sessegnon to give Spurs a boost in that position – and it’s easy to see why. The Roehampton-born talent has taken to professional football incredibly well, is both English and young – at 16 years old he’s an England U19 international – and fits the Spurs model perfectly.
Dele Alli has proven that signing young players from the Football League can work, and Spurs may look to Sessegnon to follow that model. He could very well become Spurs’ – and England’s – long-term successor to Rose in the years to come.