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9 players who Tottenham COULD have realistically signed this summer

Matthijs de Ligt Tottenham

The deadline came and went without activity in north London, but at what cost? Hunter Godson picks out a clutch of realistic transfer targets who would have improved Mauricio Pochettino’s options for 2018/19

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1. Jean Michael Seri (Fulham)

Seri Tottenham

At a time when consistent, creative central midfielders seem to be at a premium, Seri shone through as a smart bit of business for Fulham this summer. Barcelona had agreed a fee for the Ivorian last summer but pulled out of the deal late on, and with no sign of them returning this summer, the Cottagers swooped in for £25m.

Spurs seemed set on offloading their most creative central midfielder in Mousa Dembele, and although Seri may not have been a perfect like-for-like replacement, the cultured 27-year-old would have most definitely improved Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield options to challenge on all fronts – at an attractive price too.

2. Moussa Dembele (Celtic)

Dembele Tottenham

After a long, hard summer of World Cup football, Harry Kane returned to Spurs and played 90 minutes on the opening day against Newcastle. We know full well that Kane is a model professional who wants to be involved at every opportunity, but the 25-year-old occasionally needs rest to avoid picking up niggling injuries – last season he missed only two matches across the Premier League and Champions League.

Celtic’s Dembele, a proven goalscorer with Champions League experience and one eye on the Premier League already, could have been a smart and affordable option for Spurs. With Son Heung-min heading to Asia this season – not once, but twice – the Lilywhites could find themselves relying on Fernando Llorente for goals. Not ideal when Pochettino doesn’t seem to trust him.

3. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Zaha Tottenham

Zaha divided opinion among Spurs fans as to whether he was a good fit for the current squad, or if he’d even break into the first XI. But for a Tottenham team accused of lacking intensity at points last season, the adaptable Ivory Coast international would have been an invaluable addition – proven in the Premier League, still only 25 and capable of playing in a number of positions effectively.  

In the end, he committed his future to Palace with a chunky new contract, but Zaha will want Champions League football eventually and Tottenham appear to be a good club to match his ambitions.

In the eyes of most Tottenham supporters, this summer was where the marquee signing had to be made. Zaha should have been it.

4. Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

Pulisic Tottenham

More of a wild card, this one. The 19-year-old American has garnered a loyal fanbase in Dortmund, and across the pond he’s now the poster boy for a new US revolution following the national team's failure to qualify for Russia 2018.

Strange, then, that Levy hasn't seized his opportunity to snap up the rising star before he moves into a different price band. For now, Pulisic has enormous talent but perhaps not a consistent end product (five goals, seven assists in 27 Bundesliga stars last season).

You feel, though, that with the American's potential and current level of ability, Mauricio Pochettino could help craft him into a fine player indeed at Tottenham.

5. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Grealish Tottenham

The saga of the summer. Grealish was seemingly Spurs’ main transfer target, and the club were clearly confident that a deal could be struck on the cheap thanks to Villa’s apparent financial woes.

But the Championship side were saved by new ownership that Levy & Co. presumably hadn’t anticipated. Deadline day loomed and, despite a £25m bid being tabled (and allegedly agreed before Villa’s new owners pulled the plug), the 22-year-old stayed put at his boyhood club.

What would have happened if Spurs went in earlier while the Villans’ finances were in a mess, though? It’s hard to imagine they’d have been in a position to turn down that kind of money then. Too slow.