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Times: five players on Tottenham’s January chopping block

According to one paper, the first team clear-out that didn’t happen this summer could happen at the New Year.

Tottenham Hotspur v Cardiff City - Premier League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

News and rumors continue to dribble out after Tottenham Hotspur’s poor start to the 2019-20 season. While TV pundits continue to openly wonder if Spurs will part ways with manager Mauricio Pochettino, in the papers there’s a growing thread that Daniel Levy will do the opposite and stick with his embattled manager and give him a chance to rebuild the squad.

The Times of London (£) is now reporting that the process will begin with a clear-out of some of the existing first team this January, with five players tipped for sale: Christian Eriksen, Victor Wanyama, Serge Aurier, Eric Dier, and Danny Rose. These five players were identified as the most likely players to leave as Pochettino furthers his plans to “freshen up” the squad.

[Dier], 25, started his first league match of the season in the 3-0 defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday and will be joined on the list by Christian Eriksen, Serge Aurier, Victor Wanyama and Danny Rose, all of whom Tottenham expected to have sold in the summer. The negative atmosphere at the club has partly stemmed from players finding out that they were not wanted, but then not sold.

— The Times

It’s important to first be honest about what we’re reading — there are no quotes here or direct sources in the reporting, which puts it firmly in the realm of “unsourced transfer rumor.” It’s possible that the sources of the article are player agents reporting on background, or it could merely be reporters putting two and two together. As always, it’s wise to be skeptical of stories that tell you what you should think.

However, there’s no denying that the central tenet is absolutely plausible. All five of the players listed either unsuccessfully tried to leave the club this past summer or were tipped to be available for sale. Christian Eriksen’s attempts to drum up interest from Real Madrid are well known. Rose was left behind in the club’s preseason tour to Asia to try and find a new club. Wanyama nearly finalized a move to Genk before the deal collapsed in the waning hours of the window. Eric Dier had been included on lists of “willing to sell for the right price” for months.

If Pochettino and Daniel Levy are serious about completing a squad refresh — and at this point that seems likely, considering there are no murmurs about Poch’s job actually being in jeopardy — then these are the five most likely players to depart. It’s interesting, however, that no mention is made here of either Toby Alderweireld or Jan Vertonghen, both of whom are in the last years of their contracts. Offloading playres would also (hopefully) suggest that Levy could make some moves for additional incoming players in January, something that Poch has been somewhat reticent to do, barring Lucas Moura two seasons ago.

So be skeptical of the sourcing for now, but the substance of the report is definitely something that could happen. If so, it will mean Spurs are planning to limp along with this unsettled squad until the end of the calendar year.