Most of us assumed that because he got a ton of minutes in Tottenham Hotspur’s five preseason matches that Alfie Whiteman was locked in as Spurs’ #3 keeper behind Hugo Lloris and Pierluigi Gollini. That doesn’t seem to be the case. There’s a report out in Swedish sports outlet Fotball Direkt that claims Whiteman is heading to Sweden Allsvenskan side Degerfors.
The report states that Degerfors starting keeper Ismael Diawara is heading to Swedish giants Malmö, and that Whiteman will come in as Diawara’s replacement. The report does not say whether Whiteman will be coming in on loan or as a permanent transfer.
My guess is that this is a loan, unless something has happened behind the scenes. Whiteman has looked fairly impressive in his friendly appearances for Spurs this season, and it would be weird to sell him now unless either he’s pushing for a sale or the club is really, really keen on Brandon Austin. Whiteman, despite being 22 and coming through the academy, has yet to go out on loan in his career. His friend, teammate, and goalkeeper competition Austin recently returned from a loan with MLS side Orlando City, and if Spurs aren’t yet ready to make a decision between the two then sending Alfie out on loan and keeping Brandon would make sense.
On the other hand, Alfie’s contract expires next summer. We haven’t heard anything about an extension, though it’s fairly common in recent years for Spurs players to have a clause for a one-year extension should they choose to exercise it. Also, a new contract and an international loan often go hand in hand with younger players coming out of the academy.
Degerfors isn’t a great team — they’re currently 12th out of 16 teams after 14 matches — but with a keeper loan you almost want them to face more shots because more shots = more saves = more chances to show you’re a good keeper. (I’m only half serious here). We’ll have to wait for an official announcement to see what the plan is for Alfie, as it will have an impact on who our break-glass-in-case-of-keeper-emergency option is this coming season.