Tottenham Hotspur have been doing work in the transfer window, and today is obviously an exciting day because of the arrival of Sergio Reguilon and the homecoming of Gareth Bale.
But Spurs officially have a problem with their roster, and Jose Mourinho spoke about it after the club’s 2-1 victory over Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday night in Bulgaria. Nick Ames of The Guardian wrote a good article about Mourinho’s comments and how Spurs will have to sell some players before the window closes in October.
“You ask me about Dele – you could ask me about the other seven players we left behind,” he said. “To be honest I don’t like the number of players I have in my squad. It is very, very difficult to manage in every aspect of my job. Very difficult to manage this situation, too many players.”
Tottenham are particularly overloaded in midfield but, against that, an unusually compacted fixture list means squad rotation may be more important than ever. Mourinho was critical of the Premier League’s decision to cut back from nine substitutes, an allowance imposed after last season’s restart in June, to the standard seven.
Mourinho is obviously talking about going back to the standard eighteen-man matchday squads and only three substitutions, but a deeper problem exists with the roster itself: Spurs simply have too many players.
Including the transfers that will occur today, Spurs will have 18 full-time foreign players. Ben Davies counts as a foreign player for UEFA, but PL homegrown. Bale will slot in as an academy trained player, so there’s no issue there.
Spurs are still looking at targets, though. They have Kim Min-Jae in their sights, which would be another foreign player if that transfer goes through and the never-ending striker search may or may not be a foreign player as well. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, Spurs go outside of England to get their striker. That brings the list of foreign players to 20 for EPL play and 21 for UEFA play. Players are going to have to be sold. There’s no other solution.
The obvious names that standout are Paulo Gazzaniga, Juan Foyth, Erik Lamela, Serge Aurier, and I’ll go as far as to include Lucas Moura just because of the arrival of Gareth Bale. That last one, however, is basically a “if a really good offer comes in” inclusion.
With the arrival of free transfer Joe Hart, Gazzaniga has had a few links. Fulham seemed interested, as did Aston Villa, but they’re out of the mix after signing Emi Martinez from Arsenal. There’s also some links in Gazzaniga’s home country of Argentine, but it’s doubtful he’d want to return home when he can play in the Premier League.
Juan Foyth has been spinning his tires for awhile now, and while the club would prefer a loan deal (which does solve their problem for the season), it’s hard to see where he fits in this club if Monster comes in.
Aurier is a weird one. For a solid month, there have been numerous links to him leaving for Italy. Yet, in the past week, those links have faded and there are reports that he might even stay as part of the rotation with newcomer Matt Doherty. I think he can go either way.
I will cry forever and ever when Spurs sell Lamela, but there have been no links for the Argentine attacker and Mourinho seems to love his commitment. Lamela also seems perfectly happy being a super-sub and contributing in any way possible. Those types of players are invaluable to have.
Moura, as I stated, is only being included because of Bale’s arrival and overloading the right side of attack now. We don’t know what Mourinho’s plan is for Bale but he primarily played on the right flank at Madrid. Lucas has some good value so I won’t be stunned to hear some links in the coming weeks.
Spurs need to get the roster trimmed down so Mourinho can formulate a plan with the new arrivals and figure out who won’t be sticking around. While today is arguably the biggest day in Tottenham transfers in a long time, remember that it also comes with some baggage and someone will have to exit stage right.