As we transition into the offseason, the next couple of weeks will provide a chance to escape from the mistakes Tottenham Hotspur made since the Champions League final defeat on the first day of June in 2019. Just two seasons removed from that match, Tottenham finds itself trying to move on some of the same players that should have gone elsewhere years ago. They find themselves looking to re-establish their DNA and identity, something they hope to tackle when Antonio Conte, widely predicted to be Spurs’ next manager, takes the reins in the next few days.
From the Europa League collapse to the Super League debacle to the blown opportunities of losing points from winning positions under José Mourinho, it seems that the train completely fell off of the tracks this past season, forcing Tottenham to finally entertain the idea a substantial rebuild. With that comes the influx of newer players into the roster to cycle out the same players that, as mentioned before, have ran their courses with the club.
High on the wish list for the club will be to make vast improvements to the defensive side of the ball. Surely Tottenham would benefit greatly by bringing in one or two new centerbacks, but the offseason plan cannot end there. Spurs could benefit by bringing in another striker as well as a right back to go along with another creative playmaker in the middle of the park. Fortunately for Tottenham, some of these roles can be bolstered by players returning from loans this past season.
A few years ago, it was Mauricio Pochettino’s preference that players would not be sent out on loan. For example, Marcus Edwards and Kyle Walker-Peters were two players who had high hopes coming out of the Tottenham youth program, but both mostly trained in-house and were rarely, if ever, featured in Pochettino sides. The decision to keep both young talents led to a drop-off in development and confidence that greatly impacted both players, so much so that both players are now no longer with the club.
Under Mourinho, whether it was from the Portuguese himself or from the Tottenham hierarchy, there was more of an interest in sending individuals out on loan to give them consistent playing time.
In the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ series, the emphasis of development and trust in the youth academy came across profoundly. On top of all of the improvements made to the training facilities as well as the new stadium, Tottenham have first-hand knowledge of how much a strong youth academy can have within the squad. Having a world-class player like Harry Kane come right from the youth academy gives you a leg-up in not having to acquire such talents at a premium. Of course, it is important for the board to invest and build around that world class player like Kane, but that’s a different article.
Let’s recap each Tottenham loanee from the 2020-21 season and predict their futures for the upcoming season. As a note, the following individuals have been excluded from the list due to the reasons listed below:
- Brandon Austin: On loan at Orlando City SC through the end of the year, Austin is already out on loan. As of this writing, the 22-year-old has not gotten any minutes.
- Paulo Gazzaniga: A decent backup who stepped in well for Hugo Lloris when the Frenchman endured an elbow injury in 2019, Gazzaniga’s contract expired this summer after spending the last few months in La Liga at Elche.
- Kazaiah Sterling, Shilow Tracey, Jack Roles: All three are former academy graduates who left the club last week after their contracts expired.
After Norwich City was relegated last season, there was definitely a thought that they would yo-yo back up to the Premier League. After all, the Canaries retained their top players, so they really hit the ground running knowing how to play in Daniel Farke’s setup.
Last offseason, after being awarded a new contract with Spurs, Skipp was immediately shipped northeast to Norwich. This decision was a spectacular one for all parties involved. Skipp improved the spine of Norwich, giving them a player whose work rate and ability to mop up play in front of him allowed for the likes of Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki to do their thing.
Watching Norwich last season, Skipp’s passing significantly improved, showing that he can be more than just a holding midfielder. While there is an argument to be made that allowing Skipp to continue his progression at Norwich in this year’s Premier League would be wise, Spurs would benefit by plugging Skipp alongside or behind Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
A few seasons ago, there was a thought that Sessegnon was one of the most talented youngsters to come out of England. At Fulham, he was a one-man show, doing it all in his teenage years. Since then, the rigors of English professional football have caught up to him and his lack of a concrete position have provided him with a big challenge.
In his first season in the Premier League in 2018-19, Sessegnon’s play fell off and saw his goal contributions decrease. When Tottenham signed Sessegnon for around £25 million that offseason, they were doing so with the thinking that Sessegnon was still extremely young and had a lot of potential to develop.
Long-term, his best position will likely be more of an attacking left wingback. On loan at Hoffenheim last season, Sessegnon was able to gain more minutes in their 3-5-2 setup. He would have struggled mightily to find some consistent form and playing time in the Premier League. Sessegnon is far from the finished product, but his versatility could be utilized a in a variety of roles at Spurs. At 21 years of age, the future is still extremely bright for Sessegnon.
Foyth was able to get away from north London and develop in a league that may have been suited more to his strengths and after a period of adjustment helped Unai Emery and Villarreal defy odds and win the Europa League,
At the “Yellow Submarine”, Foyth was deployed as a right back and played alongside a pretty competent duo in Pau Torres and Raúl Albiol. Still just 23 years old, Foyth showcased in the 2020-21 season the potential that Pochettino had seen in him when he joined Spurs a few years ago.
Written in Foyth’s loan deal is the option for Villareal to buy and given how well Foyth adapted to the league and the versatility he can bring to a defensive line, that is a clause that Villareal will likely trigger. Given that Spurs will need to sell assets to raise capital, deciding to part ways with Foyth may be the best option for all parties involved.
A few seasons ago, Tottenham had gone three transfer windows without a signing. Clarke was the first signing of the 2019 summer window. Joining for around £10m, Clarke has since endured three loan spell.
Spending time in the Championship at Leeds United, QPR and Stoke City, Clarke’s time on loan has been largely unsuccessful. However, he started to show some ability during his most recent spell with the Potters before suffering a season-ending achilles injury.
In Clarke, there is a player who is very comfortable with the ball in his feet. Earlier in his career, his technical ability allowed him to beat fullbacks on the wing quite easily. He needs to grow more into his frame, but this is still a player with a bright future. Due to the nature of his injury, Clarke will likely be kept out for the entirety of next season completing his rehab. But at age 20, barring that he completes his rehab without any issue, the potential will be there for Clarke to come good on the potential Daniel Levy had seen in him.
A regular for Bournemouth’s back-line this past season, the English-American Carter-Vickers impressed for the Cherries. Cameron has been no stranger to being sent out on loan, and has been sent out on multiple loans the past few seasons. Towards the end of his loan spell at Luton Town last season, Carter-Vickers showed a lot of promise, so much so that Mourinho had tinkered with the prospect and played him a lot in pre-season.
He was ultimately sent back to the Championship, but Tottenham saw enough in him to trigger a clause in his contract that would extend his tenure with Tottenham. After an impressive season on loan, Carter-Vickers could potentially bring in some cash. As a player who really does not seem to have a first-team future in north London, it would be best for all parties involved to cut ties. As we have already touched upon, Carter-Vickers has his fair share of suitors, so Tottenham could make good business here.
While the light has dimmed somewhat on Parrott’s potential in recent seasons, there was a time where many anticipated the Irish international would be able to contribute as Kane’s backup. Since then, Dane Scarlett has seemingly surpassed Parrott in that role as youth team totem.
Starting the 2020-21 season out on loan in the Championship at Millwall, Parrott failed to make his way in the squad in large part due to nagging injuries. However, he was loaned out to Ipswich Town in League One and enjoyed a bit more football.
He is still a raw prospect who has to iron out certain aspects of his game, but Parrott has natural goal-scoring talent and could play in a poaching-like striker role. At 19 years old, there is still a lot of time for Parrott to come into his own, but he will most certainly need another year or two out on loan to continue his development.
Prior to the 2020-21 season, Eyoma had signed a new three-year deal with Tottenham. A few weeks later, Eyoma was sent out on loan to Lincoln City in League One. Eyoma immediately inserted himself into the starting lineup and was a huge contributor for a team that exceeded their expectations yet fell just short of achieving promotion, losing in the League One playoff final to Blackpool.
We spoke earlier about the importance of promoting from within and how much money it can save a club in the long-term. Eyoma is definitely a player that Spurs think highly of after awarding him with a new contract. With another year out on loan, perhaps this time in the Championship, Eyoma can continue to progress against better competition.
After spending the past few months out on loan at Portsmouth, White received first-team playing minutes for one of the more respected League One sides. At Pompey, White displayed the abilities many within Tottenham’s youth academy have seen — an excellent passer on the ball who knows how to do his job with consistency.
White has the ability to operate in a few different capacities in the midfield. Deployed more as a defensive midfielder, White has the potential and make-up to play in a ‘number 8’ role. He is exceptional in set-pieces and most certainly has a bright future ahead of him. Still at just 19, another year in League One would bode well for White.
Spending time in League Two at Cambridge United, Okedina helped his club earn promotion to League One. A relatively late bloomer within the academy, Okedina’s contract is up at the conclusion of next season, but there were many positives from this past season out on loan.
Showing good athleticism and robust physical attributes, Okedina’s natural position is still up in the air. Should he not fill out his frame, perhaps working on the outside would be more ideal. Another year on loan should give Spurs a better idea whether to give Okedina a newer contract.