Welcome, officially, to silly season! The transfer window for English football leagues opened this morning, just a week after the season ended. Does that seem unusual? Well, it is. Everything is accelerated now and we’ve pretty much gone straight from the madness of the Premier League season into the summer transfer window craziness without a break. And it’s a World Cup year. Buckle up.
It’s worth taking a look at Tottenham Hotspur now that they can actually buy and sell players again to see what their needs are. What can we expect from Spurs in this window? Who might they target? Who might be leaving?
Wait, I thought the window didn’t open until June!
The Premier League clubs voted last year to adjust the start and end dates of the summer transfer window in order to make sure all signings are made before the start of the Premier League season. Clubs were dissatisfied with having to play 2-3 matches with an unsettled squad or with missing pieces.
So the window is open starting today, and closes at 5:00 p.m. on August 9. This will not prevent clubs from being able to sell players to other leagues whose windows last longer after the deadline, though.
What kind of business does Tottenham need to do in this window?
That depends on whom you ask, and is contingent on whom Spurs want to sell this summer as well. It’s also complicated by the World Cup happening smack in the middle of the window, which makes it difficult to sign any player who is participating in the tournament.
Mauricio Pochettino reportedly is going to ask Daniel Levy for additional resources to spend on player wages and acquisitions this summer, and is ready to “take some risks,” so it could be a pretty exciting transfer window for Spurs fans.
But there are definitely some problem areas that will need addressing.
Contract extensions for key players. Spurs are already working on this, having made four extensions already for current players: Kyle Walker-Peters, Davinson Sanchez, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Harry Winks have all signed new deals. Leaks have already emerged out of Spurs’ camp that suggest the club wants to tie down its biggest stars — Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris, and Eric Dier — to new and improved deals before the World Cup, which means that could happen very soon.
A new central defender. Toby Alderweireld is looking like he will be on his way out the door this summer, with him refusing to sign a new contract at Spurs and Tottenham willing to cash in on him while he’s still commanding peak value. Spurs are looking very closely at Ajax’s 18-year old defensive star Matthijs de Ligt, and there are value picks to be had in the market as well such as West Brom’s Jonny Evans. Spurs are also looking at players like Newcastle club captain Jamaal Lascelles
Central midfield reinforcements. Spurs were exposed at the end of the season when Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier were both out injured, along with Harry Winks’ long term ankle issue, which left them in a pretty substantial central midfield hole. Dembele is also now linked with a move away from the club, possibly to China, and Spurs need to find a way to replace him, which will not be easy to do. The club is linked with all sorts of midfield options, including Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic, Napoli’s Amadou Diawara, Southampton’s Mario Lemina, and Schalke’s Max Meyer, and signing at least one midfield pivot player will probably be a priority for Pochettino and Daniel Levy this summer.
A new fullback. It’s safe to say that most Spurs fans weren’t extraordinarily thrilled with the fullback play this season. Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies were both solid enough but both have their issues. Thanks to an injury to Danny Rose and a slow adaptation from Serge Aurier, fullbacks/wingbacks are an area that you can point to and say “Spurs need more there.” Spurs just tied down academy right back Kyle Walker-Peters to a new contract and are extremely interested in 17-year old Fulham fullback/wide midfielder Ryan Sessegnon, who looks like a generational talent but whom won’t come cheap.
A backup striker for Harry Kane... again. Probably the least highest priority for Spurs this window, striker has been a thorn in Spurs’ side for years now, and Spurs have found it difficult to find that right person to back up Kane. Vincent Janssen was signed in 2016-17 but was a bust. Fernando Llorente came in as an experienced hand, but barely made an impact. The current line of thinking is that instead of an outright #9 like Kane, Pochettino might be looking at a utility player like Son Heung-Min who can play either at the tip of the spear or as a wide inside forward. Want-away Manchester United winger Anthony Martial is one option apparently high on Spurs’ radar, or they could opt to pick over the relegated squads with someone like West Brom’s Solomon Rondon. Or, they might just say that Son and Lucas Moura could both capably back up Kane and focus their energy elsewhere.
With a compressed transfer window in a World Cup summer, it means that there’s a strong possibility that a lot can happen in a very short time. Spurs generally leave their business late, but they may not have that luxury anymore, and there are suggestions that things could be happening way earlier than usual this summer. We’ll see. Brace yourselves for what could be a super exciting summer of player transfers.