Nuno Espirito Santo might have his South American international players available for this weekend’s Premier League match after all. Although doubts were expressed over the availability of Tottenham Hotspur players Giovani Lo Celso, Cuti Romero, Emerson Royal, and Davinson Sanchez for Sunday’s match against Newcastle, the Telegraph is reporting that every effort is being made for the quartet to return directly to the United Kingdom in order for them to be assessed ahead of the match at St. James Stadium.
Argentina pair Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero, Brazilian full-back Emerson Royal and Colombia centre-back Davinson Sanchez were not given early releases and also play on Thursday and the early hours of Friday.
But they will fly directly back after their matches and sleep at Spurs’ training ground at Bulls Cross, Enfield, as part of the conditions to allow them to play after visiting a “red-list” country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Spurs are also checking whether they must travel to the north-east separately from the rest of Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad to satisfy coronavirus safety protocols. But there is confidence that Nuno will have his South American players back to assess before deciding whether they are fit to play against Newcastle.
The good news is that all four are fully vaccinated so they no longer are restricted from traveling direct from a red-listed country back to the UK. The bad news is that they’re going to arrive from South America absolutely knackered ahead of what is sure to be a narrative-laden away match against a Newcastle team that was recently purchased by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.
The article is pretty cagy as to whether any of the four would start the match, stating instead that all four would be “assessed” ahead of their return. It does seem likely however that at least some of them would be in line for a start, jet lagged be damned.
I’m still irritated that once again there are three international matches scheduled during these two week breaks. Regardless of COVID protocols, the third matches are coming so late that even in perfect conditions it’d be difficult for these players to return to their clubs with enough time to recuperate and be ready to play. But that’s an old argument and there’s nothing we can do about it. For now, I’m just happy that we might — might! — get some of Spurs’ best players on the pitch against Geordie Arabia.
And since this is a Tottenham blog, that same article says that since Liverpool play on Saturday instead of Sunday, they’ve already ruled out having Brazilian internationals Fabinho and Alisson available for their match against Watford. Insert Nelson Muntz “Ha Ha” gif here.