It is set in stone... Tottenham Hotspur are safe from relegation to the EFL Championship. Jokes aside, as Tottenham gears up for a race to finish in a European spot with a just a few remaining matches, preparations for the 2021 summer transfer window should be in full swing as the club approaches a crossroads.
After the results from this past weekend, it has been confirmed that Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United will be dropping down a division. As is the case every season, relegated teams contain talented players, and it’s again likely that the relegated clubs will be scavenged by other clubs trying to make improvements to their squad on the cheap. For example, look no further than former Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson, snapped up by Newcastle last summer and who has been Toon’s most effective attacker this year.
Of course, Tottenham’s aspirations should perhaps be a bit higher, and a player that will work for Newcastle may not be appropriate for Spurs. Just a few years removed from expensive signings such as Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, Spurs have shown that they are capable at times of opening up their pursestrings. However, with the lack of matchday revenue combined with the COVID-depressed market as well as the financial losses from the new stadium, perhaps it would be wise for Spurs to take a look at a few recently-relegated players.
Let’s take a look at a variety of players who, despite playing for lesser competition, could make the jump up a level and help Tottenham’s first team.
Matheus Pereira, West Brom
West Brom have been awful this season, but Matheus Pereira has been a bright spot. Perhaps the most talented player on this list, Pereira was a force in the Championship last year and chipped in 10 goals and five assists this season. He has been the Baggies’ talisman in their short stint in the Premier League this season.
Once Slaven Bilić was sacked in December and the club appointed Sam Allardyce, it was thought that Pereira would see a dip in production, going from a possession-based attack where he sat behind strikers to a more negative approach. A technical player with exceptional vision, Pereira stood out throughout the season and would have benefitted more from a having a #9 to put home the service he provided.
From Tottenham’s perspective, the right attacking lane has brought a lot of questions to the forefront and will be a talking point this coming summer with Gareth Bale’s future up in the air. If Bale were not to return to Spurs, the position likely falls to either Lucas Moura or Steven Bergwijn. Spurs are lacking a creative presence from that wing, one that has been missed since the departure of Christian Eriksen. Pereira could immediately instill some competition, especially for Bergwijn, and provide Spurs a versatile weapon at a discounted price.
Sam Johnstone, West Brom
I have already mentioned that I think a split between Tottenham and Hugo Lloris is necessary. I want to preface by saying that Johnstone is not better than the former, but there are certain traits that make him a worthwhile shout for Spurs.
For starters, Johnstone is a good distributor of the ball, an area in which Lloris has significantly struggled. Playing behind a back-line that left a lot to be desired, Johnstone was one of the few bright spots for West Brom, and although he let in a lot of goals he also faced a ton of shots, and had a save percentage of 70.8%, more than respectable.
A graduate of the Manchester United youth academy, Johnstone is 28 years of age, not a spring chicken. However, it seems that Paulo Gazzaniga does not have a future with the club and given that Joe Hart was likely a José Mourinho purchase could be on his way out, Spurs could find themselves having a need to bring in another keeper. Johnstone is English, seems to be improving and would be a viable backup option for the club.
Joachim Andersen, Fulham
The player that Spurs have been linked with the most on this list, Andersen will be heading back to Lyon at the end of this season now that his loan deal is over. At Lyon, the writing is on the wall for Andersen as he is not considered a starter behind three more preferred options.
At 24, Andersen was one of the Cottagers’ most important players. Despite being on loan, he was a consistent captain for the club. At 6’4”, Andersen is extremely comfortable on the ball and displays good anticipation skills in the box. Similarly to Toby Alderweireld, Andersen is a player that has a similar ability to play diagonal long-balls from deep. He is a smart and tenacious defender and could pair well alongside Joe Rodon.
With Andersen, Spurs may not have the fastest or most athletic centerback, but they would have a player who improved greatly in a year out on loan, gaining confidence and getting acclimated to the Premier League. This is a no-brainer for Tottenham to be honest.
André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Fulham
Taking a look at another player in west London, Anguissa provides a ton of energy as a box-to-box midfielder. Just two short seasons ago, Spurs’ midfield had a ton of questions. Since the acquisitions of Ndombele, Lo Celso and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Tottenham have gone through significant lengths to patch up the midfield. However, Spurs are really missing one last piece in the midfield layer and that void could be filled by a player of Anguissa’s ability.
While the talent is definitely there with both Ndombele and Lo Celso, it has mainly been showcased in patches and not over a complete 90 minutes. But there have been questions raised about their fitness as well as their best position. Højbjerg has not played up to the level he showed at the start of the season. This is likely due to the amount of minutes he has logged over the course of his debut season in north London. While Spurs will have Oliver Skipp likely returning from Norwich City, Tottenham would be wise to add a midfield option who could provide a glue between their holding midfielding options to their attack and Anguissa could just be that.
Anguissa’s strength for Fulham was in progressing the ball from deep positions into the attacking quadrant, often in transition. A true box-to-box player, Anguissa covers a ton of ground and likes to pressure opposition players and cause disruptions in midfield. He has a bit more passing range than Højbjerg but loves to try and dribble past people and could be a fantastic midfield rotation option for Spurs depending on tactics and opposition.
Anguissa does a little bit of everything. He’s younger, more athletic, and vastly more technical than Moussa Sissoko, whom he would likely replace in the lineup. While he may be on a team that was relegated, Anguissa is just 25 years old and is signed through 2025. Out of the players on this list, he may require the biggest fee.
Jayden Bogle, Sheffield United
Perhaps one of the lesser-known players on this list, Bogle was one of few bright spots from the Blades this season. Spurs should definitely be seeking a new right back this summer with the future of Serge Aurier up in the air and the questioning over whether Matt Doherty can consistently be a reliable option as a traditional fullback.
At 20 years old, Bogle came on towards the start of the 2021 calendar year. Just a few seasons ago, Bogle was Frank Lampard’s preferred choice at right back for Derby County. In a typical 4-2-3-1 formation, Bogle was consistently given the freedom to go forward. From a defensive standpoint, Bogle embodies more of a modern-day fullback. He is better suited to play in a pressing high line with the emphasis of making quick interceptions and pushing the ball forward.
In England, there have been so many quality fullbacks that have come through the ranks that have rightfully warranted more attention than Bogle. However, by providing the youngster with more elite attacking threats, Bogle could garner even more potential. This would be a low-profile, quality signing for Spurs and potentially a sleeper pick.
Another goalkeeper that could be an option is Alphonse Areola from Fulham. A loanee from PSG, Areola has been solid for Fulham between the sticks. He may be 28 years old, but now has Premier League experience to go along with La Liga experience from his loan spell in Valencia. With PSG stacked at keeper, Areola will likely be a target for a number of Premier League clubs this summer.
Hampered by a hamstring injury for a large portion of the season, Sander Berge is another unique player who provides somewhat of a Tomáš Souček presence in midfield. A plus player defensively paired with an improving attacking forefront and a player Spurs were linked with in the past, Berge should definitely find a home in the Premier League with someone next season.
It will be interesting to see what Spurs do at the striker position this summer. Should Harry Kane leave, the emphasis would be on finding a starting option to replace him of course. However, it looks like Carlos Vinícius’ loan spell may not turn into anything concrete given his expensive release clause, unless Daniel Levy can strike up a new bargain. With this being said, Aleksandar Mitrović would be a curious option. At 26 years old, Mitrović was phased out of the Fulham squad this year due to his struggles in playing in Scott Parker’s quick, upbeat passing-based approach. A player with good strength and target-man traits, Spurs could do worse for a backup option than the Serbian international.