In our effort to bring you content to Cartilage Free Captain during these times of self-isolation for almost everyone on the planet, we have been tossing around a lot of ideas to keep you all engaged. On top of that, hell we need the entertainment as well.
A few weeks ago on FIFA 20, I decided to see what kind of team I could build with nothing but former Tottenham Hotspur players. It turns out I can build a pretty solid squad, especially if I’m including players like Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. Having them both on a squad makes up for a lot of deficiencies. I brought this up in our writers’ room and the conversation turned to Spurs cast-offs.
A light bulb went off and, suddenly, we had a stew cooking.
So here’s the idea: I’m going to build a manager career mode in the game with nothing but Spurs cast-offs. Now, this isn’t all that scientific, but we tried to stick to a few themes to eliminate players like Bale and Modric who Spurs sold for a crap-ton of money. When we broke it down, we came to the following criteria:
- Players who never settled in.
- Academy prospects who didn’t pan out.
- Players who we screwed up and didn’t keep.
- Players who wore out their welcome.
- Players who were just kinda bad.
This wasn’t as difficult as we thought initially, but we had to fill in the gaps in a couple of spots and stretch the meaning of “cast-off” in a spot here and there. Anyways, here’s what we came up with.
Pau Lopez (AS Roma)
Heurelho Gomes (Watford)
Jordan Archer (Millwall)
Our stretching of the rules really came into play here. Pau Lopez was on loan for an entire year and we all expected Spurs to pay the purchase fee at the end of it because Mauricio Pochettino loved him. Turns out that didn’t happen, and now he’s pretty damn good at AS Roma. Gomes’ story could probably be an entire article so we won’t get into that while Jordan Archer just wasn’t good enough.
Yuri Berchiche (Athletic Bilbao)
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Ryan Fredricks (West Ham United)
Adam Smith (AFC Bournemouth)
I know this is a single left back and three right backs but I’m not putting Danny Rose on this squad because I love him and he doesn’t really fit our criteria. I’m also not putting “forever left back but actually a right back” Kyle Naughton in here because I don’t like him.
Berchiche was at Spurs a couple of seasons but never seemed to find his way. He’s now a pretty good left back at 30 years old in Spain, so sure! Yedlin’s an easy choice because he made all of one appearance for Spurs and had a couple of loans. Fredricks and Smith both had loan spells as well and didn’t get any real chance with the senior squad, but both are pretty good now for their respective clubs.
Federico Fazio (AS Roma)
Kevin Wimmer (Mouscron)
Vlad Chiriches (Sassuolo)
Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv)
Milos Velkojivic (Werder Bremen)
Look at that group. Just look at it and enjoy it. Bask in its glory because oh my god it’s wonderful.
Fazio’s been pretty good since he left Spurs, even though he’s still a walking red card. Sonny’s former best friend is now in Belgium on loan. Vlad is still Vlad, though he’s at Sassuolo for the time being. Vedran Corluka, who was a bit of a stretch in our criteria since he was at Spurs for four seasons, is 34 years old and still kicking it in Russia. Milos Velokjivic managed to land on his feet at Werder Bremen and is fairly serviceable.
Etienne Capoue (Watford)
Benjamin Stambouli (Schalke 04)
Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande)
Nabil Bentaleb (Newcastle United)
I couldn’t get through half of this list without laughing because wow. Two of the four Bale Seven players easily make this list. Capoue was not bad but apparently a jerk. Stambouli was....hell I don’t even know what to say about him. Paulinho’s career arc is one of the weirdest ever as he went from Spurs to China to Barcelona to China. Bentaleb was apparently quite the jerk as well as he finds himself on loan at Newcastle. Is it bad that I’m somehow eager to see this sh*tshow of a midfield?
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)
Lewis Holtby (Blackburn Rovers)
Adel Taarabt (SL Benfica)
Giovani Dos Santos (Club America)
I liked Gylfi, but his time here was really weird. He was brought in, essentially, to replace Rafael Van der Vaart. He wasn’t bad, but to say he was a mainstay player is a massive stretch. Former Unofficial Tottenham Hotspur Mascot Lewis Holtby is in England again if you didn’t know it. He’s up at Blackburn Rovers trying to kickstart his career. Adel Taarabt’s time at Spurs was technically from 2007-2010 but he spent most of it on loan or on the bench.
Then there’s Giovani Dos Santos. If there was ever a list that suited him perfectly, it’s this. Dos Santos was at Spurs from 2008-2012 and made 17 appearances. He was loaned out three different times to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray, and Racing Santander. He’s now in Mexico at Club America and is somehow only 30 years old.
Nacer Chadli (Anderlecht)
Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (Besiktas)
Iago Falque (Torino)
Marcus Edwards (Vitoria)
Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)
Chadli, another member of the Bale Seven, had a couple of seasons that could be described as a roller coaster. N’Koudou is a no-brainer lock for this list after he did next to nothing for most of his time. Iago Falque was around at Spurs for a few years and just couldn’t seem to get over the hump, but now he’s at Torino and is a pretty solid player. Marcus Edwards is hoping for that same career arc as he is at Vitoria.
Andros Townsend, even though it might seem a tad weird, had to be on this list. If you count his academy time, Townsend was at Tottenham for sixteen years. He also had nine loans! Look at this list:
2009 - Yeovil Town, Leyton Orient
2010 - MK Dons, Ipswich Town
2011 - Watford, Millwall
2012 - Leeds United, Birmingham City
2013 - Queens Park Rangers
When he came back from QPR he finally found some playing time and made 50 appearances for the senior squad, but was ultimately moved to Newcastle United after he couldn’t lock down his place. Now he’s at Crystal Palace, still just 28 years old, and doing well there.
Vincent Janssen (Monterrey)
Roberto Soldado (Granada CF)
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Besiktas)
I cannot begin to tell you how excited/terrified I am to have Vincent Janssen starting up top in this formation. I plan on playing a 4-3-3 and letting him just post up on whatever defender is near him. I hope he bangs in 30 goals for this squad. Bobby Soldier just never could find his shooting boots with us but I still love the man. He has to be on this list, though. Initially we wanted Clinton N’Jie but he’s on Dynamo Moscow, who are not in the game. We have opted for Kevin-Prince Boateng instead, who was with Spurs for a short spell before he basically toured all of Europe.
So there you have it. It’s a full list of misfits, burnouts, and not-quite-good-enoughs that are sure to torture me when I start this up. I plan on streaming this and, while I’m going to try my hardest to use Mixer, I might be relegated to Twitch to start out. If I wanted to do it on Mixer, it means having to buy this game at near full price, which I’d like to avoid. I already own it on PS4 but Mixer is not an option there. Either way, I’ll figure it out and we will have more to come with this.
I will also ask the commentariat what club to use for this. Should I blow up the current Spurs squad and move them around or should I take a club from the lower divisions and replace someone like Norwich? My thought was Fulham, but I’m interested to hear your opinions.