Editor’s note: Please welcome Jake Meister to the Carty Free staff. Jake is a Spurs fan who will be heading up CFC’s social media and also contributing articles. Jake Meister and Jake Meador are NOT the same person.
I’ll be frank—my passion for these listed players stems greatly from recency bias and how they can affect my pursuit to greatness in the anticipated release of FIFA 19 in late September.
While it’s encouraging to know that Mauricio Pochettino has said that Tottenham Hotspur “will buy” players this summer, the growing consensus around the club seems to be that it won’t be anything significant. This is a narrative that seems to be rekindled every year, with many believing that Spurs are really just one game-changing talent away from hoisting that coveted Premier League trophy for the first time since 1961.
This is not to say that Poch and Co. won’t surprise us before opening the season against Newcastle or by the end of the transfer window. As he enters his fifth season managing the club, the Argentine has been successful enough to where Lilywhite supporters should respect his decisions.
Of course, the trophy case remains squeaky clean, but there’s no denying Tottenham’s growth since Pochettino’s arrival in 2014.
That being said, here are five players that I would abuse in Ultimate Team and love to see sport what was Barcelona’s practice kit from 2017.
Nike: Why bother about Tottenham’s away kit when we can just give them Barcelona’s training kit? pic.twitter.com/r1JC6Kg5l4— Fan Antics (@FanAnticsFC) July 20, 2018
5. Ivan Perisic
The two most important things to consider from both a video game and real-life perspective when analyzing the Inter Milan midfielder is his godly five-star weak foot and how great he was at the World Cup.
Perisic may have been the “forgotten star” of Croatia’s unlikely run to the final after working aside Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and Barcelona center-mid Ivan Rakatic, recording three goals and an assist in his seven matches. Of course, he had an absolute screamer in the final, demonstrating his cannon of a weak foot by blasting the ball with his left past Hugo Lloris. Welp.
For whatever reason, EA is somewhat stingy about granting players this game-changing attribute, which makes Perisic an even more valuable addition to your squad. Even at just his basic form card, the Croatian gives you great balance on the left side of the pitch, owning 80+ pace, 80+ dribbling and 75+ physical.
Thus, his consistency in multiple facets of the game really makes him a great addition to not just your squad in FUT, but also when using Tottenham in a quick match against your friends. He’s a great complement to Heung-Min Son at left-mid, but certainly wouldn’t come at a bargain which is why I have him higher on this list.
4. Josip Illcic
The Slovenian isn’t going to blaze past the center-backs of the Premier League or your 70+ defenders in a FUT hybrid side. However, what he lacks in pace Ilicic makes up for with his passing and shooting. He’d be a great rotation player behind Harry Kane.
From a FIFA perspective, using Illicic at his natural center-forward position/central attacking midfielder is ideal because of his inability to storm past defenders with his average pace. However, this also gives you the player a better opportunity to get the best out of this card, as the forward is nearly unstoppable if he’s given space to hit one from well outside the box.
Also, let’s be clear—there isn’t anything more satisfying than watching a screamer float past the keeper in FIFA.
His ability to play a strong amount of minutes as a rotation player would give Kane and Tottenham supporters less anxiety if the superstar striker were to miss time. This is one of the few areas among the roster where there really isn’t any breathing room, and considering how important Kane is, the ability to have a strong rotation player that does a lot of the same things as him is crucial for their success.
3. Benjamin Pavard
This isn’t much of a stretch when determining the likelihood that Spurs actually would plan to go after any of these players, as the Frenchman has been linked to the club since his breakout campaign at the World Cup.
While his base card in FIFA 18 wasn’t anything to write home about, the 22-year-old’s great play at right back for Les Blues gave him a 90-overall card after winning the tournament, with five of the six major stats reaching at least an 83 rating. That’s the kind of consistency you want from your fullbacks in game, because it assures you that they can have an imprint on both sides of the pitch.
The interesting thing to consider with a potential transfer for the Stuttgart defender is where Spurs would elect to line him up. If Toby Alderweireld were to depart for Manchester United, would Pavard be thrown into his “natural” position of center back? He’d have a great opportunity to learn from a veteran like Jan Vertonghen and learn how to adjust to Premier League life with Davinson Sanchez just one year removed from that experience.
Given how strong Kieran Trippier was during the World Cup, it really wouldn’t make a lot of sense to throw him at right back.
Pavard’s youth is what is important to consider in this situation, giving his respective managers a luxury to test him anywhere among the back four. If he did depart Germany for North London, giving the Frenchman a chance at left back might be worth a flier. Ben Davies had his fair share of struggles towards the end of last season, and this competition could really bring out the best of both players.
2. Ousmane Dembélé
I wouldn’t throw out this name if I didn’t think it was an actual possibility. Of course, he’s at Barcelona and is a talent that will probably require a very large transfer fee. But just hear me out.
After bringing in former Tottenham target Malcolm and still somewhat in pursuit for Chelsea winger Willian, what use does Ernesto Valverde have for Dembélé? Even if he were to throw Lionel Messi into more of a central attacking midfielder position, the Frenchman’s status on the roster remains a major question mark.
Even the casual player of FIFA knows how much fun it would be to have Dembélé in the Premier League. He’s got the pace, skills and weak foot to headline your front three, and would also serve as an exciting addition to your career mode squad as well with his massive potential at just 20 years of age.
While Tottenham did bring in a quick wing/midfielder in Lucas Moura during the January transfer window, there hasn't been enough from the Brazilian to convince fans he’s going to fit well. The former PSG man has a lot to prove while Spurs compete in the International Champions Cup, and with the contract extension of Erik Lamela a few weeks ago, his role on the roster remains unclear.
This is not to say the Frenchman would be thrown into the XI immediately, but his potential is what would greatly excite Spurs supporters. When he’s on his game, Dembéle has a chance to become one of the best wingers in Europe.
Even in just 17 matches with Barcelona last season and going through the occasional slump, the former Dortmund attacker still recorded nine goal contributions in those appearances.
1. Hirving “Chucky” Lozano
If only Mexico knew how to perform in the big moments... Wait, he’s a perfect fit for Spurs!
In all seriousness—Had El Tri made it past the round of 16, Lozano is probably out of the Netherlands by now and preparing for the season with one of Europe’s giants.
Like Dembélé, it’s the Mexican’s potential more than anything that would create excitement around North London. Chucky is pure pace in the finest form, and while he cooled off for Juan Carlos Osorio’s side as the World Cup progressed (at least statistically), there were glimpses in the group stage where it wasn’t unreasonable to say he was the best player in Russia.
Here's the first full Team of the Matchday! The squad will be available in-packs only at 6PM UK. Watch @Castro1021 to see them in action! https://t.co/fJdlVeolTP pic.twitter.com/pf0wAQr1UJ— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) June 20, 2018
Lozano’s 17-goal campaign last season made him one of the more overpowered cards in all of Ultimate Team, earning two in-forms and a team of the season. His excellent agility and dribbling make him nearly impossible to get off the ball, not to mention his four-star weak foot and skills. The PSV man is your typical pace demon that easily can record more goal contributions than total games played.
Just imagine his One’s to Watch card.
With 15 days remaining in the transfer window, there will be plenty of discussions as to how and what Tottenham will do in the market. If a major name doesn’t arrive to North London by the deadline, I guess I’d have to settle for another year of abusing Son Heung-Min.