Tottenham Hotspur Squad Breakdown: Depth Chart

Julian Finney

The preseason is almost upon us and the transfer window has officially opened. Here's a look at where the Tottenham Hotspur squad stands now and what we can expect in the coming months.

Today is July 1st and that means that the transfer window is officially open. Yes, players can now officially join new clubs. Obviously, this doesn't affect Tottenham Hotspur much, but it's nice to know that when we do buy someone they'll be able to go directly into the team. The question is, what kind of team are these players going to come into. In order to answer that questions let's break this team down by position and see just what we need. (Note: Italicized names indicate that this is not player's natural position.)

Goalkeeper

Depth: Hugo Lloris, Brad Friedel, Gomes, Jordan Archer

I don't see any reason to change much at this position. Really what happens here depends on what Gomes wants to do. I think he's an ideal backup keeper, but he's probably going to want to go somewhere so he can be first choice, especially given that this is a World Cup year. Assuming Gomes leaves on loan we have the old, but capable Brad Friedel as our backup and Archer can probably go on loan. When I asked the staff many of the cited backup goalkeeper as a position they would like to buy for, but I really don't see the need at this point.

Right Back

Depth: Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton, Adam Smith, Younes Kaboul

Kyle Walker is probably the best young right back in the Premier League and during the course of last season he improved from athlete who sometimes played football to an actual football player. Walker has been incredibly durable the last few seasons, so having two guys backing him up is excessive. Naughton is a nice piece because he can play both fullback slots adequately, though not overly well. If he's an emergency starter or cup game player, then I am fine with him sticking around. Adam Smith is young and, if not for Walker, would be Tottenham's right back of the future. I'm not content with allowing him to sit on the bench. He could start for a lot of Premier League teams and that should be the goal when sending him on loan.

Centerback

Depth: Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson, Steven Caulker, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore

The venerable William Gallas is out of contract and no longer at the club leaving Spurs with only four centerbacks. Andre Villas-Boas has expressed that this is his preference in terms of constructing a squad, but with Kaboul just coming back from injury another player might be necessary. As good as some of the prospects are none of them are Premier League ready, so don't count on Galifuoco, Hall, or Veljikovic getting major minutes. No one is really sure of the timetable with Kaboul, but if it's going to be any later than October, then a purchase of a young quality defender may be warranted.

Left Back

Depth: Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Naughton

I'm not including Vertonghen and Naugton on the depth chart here, but if I did they'd probably still be third and fourth choice respectively. Assou-Ekotto's future has had a lot of questions around it after a less than stellar 2012-13. The Cameroonian defender has been linked with a move back to France, but no legitimate targets have surfaced as replacements. This likely means that BAE isn't going anywhere just yet. Rose, on the other hand may be off. He wants first team football and I'm not sure how well he fits in at Spurs anyway. After striker I think this is our biggest need. If BAE rediscovers his form then maybe we'll be fine, but we need a long-term solution at this position.

Central Midfield

Depth: Sandro, Mousa Dembele, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Tom Carroll, Jake Livermore

The central midfield is kind of a mess right now. Sandro and Dembele are obviously first choice with Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone being AVB's preferred backups. Parker looked past it more often than not last season and several clubs have popped up with interest in our RAF Captain. Huddlestone looked good in some of his appearances last year, but he's still slow and plodding and not good when pressured. He's a nice piece to have, but he's not going to take away first team minutes from anyone. Livermore looked bad last season and Tom Carroll is a god.

This position is one that's probably going to see a lot of changes. Paulinho seems to be pretty much a done deal and his joining will give us three strong, though ultimately very similar midfielders. One, or possibly two, of Parker, Huddlestone, and Livermore will be sold and (if AVB is smart) Tom Carroll will get some more minutes. Lewis Holtby could also figure into the mix in midfield. He's probably more likely to play than Carroll, but I'm going to put him at another position for now. We still, in my mind need a passing midfielder. If you believe that Carroll isn't ready, and if Huddlestone leaves, we definitely need a passer.

Right Wing

Depth: Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby

I was sitting here trying to figure out if I was missing anyone from this position, but I don't think I am. Sure Gylfi Sigurdsson could play on the right and so could Bale, but these two are the right wingers in the squad. I like Aaron Lennon, I think that when he's on he's damn near unplayable. The problem is that he's not often on. Early last season Lennon was fantastic, but he cooled off around January. Lennon is also fragile so having a good backup is definitely necessary. Townsend showed quite well while on loan at QPR and he seems like a great player to compliment Gareth Bale on the opposite wing.

I think a lot of people would like an upgrade at this position, but it would almost have to be predicated on the sale of Lennon. I don't think Azza is going to be happy playing second fiddle and given his quality, he probably shouldn't be. There's just not much of a market for him. Bringing in a real inside forward here would be ideal, but Tottenham will likely be best served by playing Townsend or Sigurdsson here and developing them.

Attacking Midfield

Depth: Lewis Holtby, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Clint Dempsey

I wasn't sure if I should include this position or not, but because we have so many players who's natural role is behind the striker it made sense. All three of these players are probably going to be utilized most often in other positions, but this is where they naturally play, so we'll put them here. Holtby will probably find himself playing in the midfield this season; Sigurdsson will likely be shunted out to one of the wings; and Dempsey seemed to be more effective last season playing as a striker. Since we're probably moving to a 4-3-3 this position will probably be phased out, thus buying anyone to play here seems silly.

Left Wing

Depth: Gareth Bale, Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby

Much like on the right wing we don't actually have a lot of depth over here. Townsend is adept at playing on the left wing and Dempsey is capable of doing it was well, but they both can feature elsewhere in the team. Really, it doesn't matter that much because Gareth Bale is the be all, end all. If he's not healthy and firing on all cylinders then Tottenham Hotspur are screwed in so many ways.

Striker

Depth: Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane, Clint Dempsey, Gareth Bale

Tottenham currently have three out and out strikers on the roster. Only one, Emmanuel Adebayor, is capable of being the line leading forward that Spurs need. Defoe is, and always has been, a streaky poacher. If he goes on a tear it's best to just sit back and watch, but when he's not on one it's best that he just sit and watch. Kane is unproven and still doesn't have a Premier League goal. He's big and strong, but probably not ready to be a line-leader in the league. Bale and Dempsey are both capable of playing as strikers, though with varying degrees of effectiveness. Adebayor seemed to remember how to play football in the last month of the 2012-13 season and if that is the Adebayor that Tottenham have all season, then Spurs will be much more potent offensively.

This is, as we all know, the real position of need for Tottenham. David Villa seems to be the most likely addition to the strike force and while it's not the long-term solution we had hoped for, he's certainly a better option than Kane, and at times Defoe. At the very least Villa and Adebayor could be consistent goal threats, which is really all I ask. I'd still love a good young striker like Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang, Leandro Damiao (BOOOO), or someone of that ilk, but I'll take Villa and an interested Adebayor to start the season. Additionally, Defoe could go and I wouldn't be too bothered. I think a number of teams need experienced strikers and would be willing to pay for him. I love JD, but he just doesn't quite fit what Tottenham do anymore.

Conclusions

No matter how you slice it Tottenham are pretty thin in quality depth at a lot of positions. Signings of Paulinho and David Villa would certainly help that, but there's still some questions that need to be addressed. Left back sticks out as a big one as does the need for a good passing midfielder. Tottenham may not need to actually purchase players for those positions, but they should probably hurry up and evaluate the talent they have. I'm not to concerned about goalkeeper depth. There aren't a whole lot of Thibault Courtois's just laying around waiting to be snapped up and developed. For now Friedel/Gomes are competent enough to warrant playing in Cup ties.

All in all, I like the Tottenham squad. I think we have considerably less depth and quality at certain key positions than do some of the other contenders for the Champions League places and that must be remedied immediately. Getting better in the center of the park and at the striker position should solve a lot of problems though.

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