The January transfer window is now closed, which means we can start to take stock of everything that happened. And oh buddy, it was a LOT. Tottenham moved on Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, and Dele, with an eye to permanent moves, sent Bryan Gill and a bunch of youth players out on temporary loans, and brought in Dujan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur in from Juventus. Most of that action happened either on deadline day or just before. It made for an absolutely WILD final stretch of the window.
But now the dust has settled, and let’s take a look at everything that’s happened. (And if you need a refresher of all the moves, here’s one.) I asked a couple of my Carty Free colleagues to assign a letter grade to the transfer window, an exercise that can sometimes be fraught but is a useful and easy to understand metric by which we can try and assign meaning to what was a chaotic window.
So what did you think of Tottenham’s moves? How do you feel about the overall trend of the club heading forward? Have a vote in the poll at the bottom of this article and have your say in the comments.
“Addition through subtraction” is a phrase that gets bandied around a lot and sometimes feels contradictory, but in this case I think it’s actually the case. We can (and have) argued about the departures of Lo Celso, Ndombele, and Dele, but the hard truth is that Antonio Conte didn’t see them as part of his plans, so it makes sense to cut bait and truly start the so-called “painful rebuild.”
By sending out more players than they brought in, Tottenham end up with a smaller, more streamlined squad that, in theory, should better adapt to what Conte wants to do tactically. Kulusevski and Bentancur aren’t especially high profile signings, but I think they’re going to end up being a lot better than what a lot of Spurs fans think. Both are under the radar signings with high upsides, and so long as they do what Conte asks they will be plus adds. It was always going to be difficult to address all of Spurs’ problems in the January window — Spurs still need ST, RWB, CB — but they’ve set themselves up nicely to build on things this summer.
Are Spurs better than when they came in? Perhaps not if you measure by pure talent. But they’re leaner and potentially hungrier. That’ll have to do for now. Hopefully it’s enough.
I think Tottenham did pretty good business overall. I’m excited to see what Kulusevski brings in the attacking band and Betancur is a great piece for the midfield. I don’t like that we kicked the can down the road on CB and RB/RWB though. We need help there and while it seems we had some offers out, nobody wanted to sell. The outgoing players has left me feeling so down, though. I didn’t have a bad thought at all when we signed Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, and yet they’re now out on loan and almost certainly done with Spurs.Then there’s Dele. That one hurts the most. He was one of the best purchases this club has made and somehow fell off a cliff and never got his form back. I hope he can regain it because he’s such a fun player when he’s clicking. It’ll also mean a good chunk of cash for Spurs if he does get back to his old ways.This wasn’t a slam dunk window, but for January? Not bad at all.
It was a weird January for Tottenham in which virtually all of the business was done on the final day of the window. Just about all of the major moves made sense, too. Incomings Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski are good enough to slot into the lineup right away and add some variety to the team in midfield and in attack, respectively. Both also increase the quality of the squad, which has been a longstanding problem for a team that has had difficulty improving on some starters and depth options over the years.As for the players that left on deadline day, all had good reason to. There is downside to Dele, Bryan Gil, Giovani Lo Celso, and Tanguy Ndombele all leaving; all four presented potential that may never be realized at Tottenham. It makes the decision for them to leave in search of playing time a very natural one, and therefore the right one. Their departures make the squad a bit smaller, but it should be a manageable situation with only two competitions to navigate.
Filling in squad gaps on a large is too big a task for a January transfer window, but the ins and outs provide Antonio Conte with a nice foundation to mold the squad in whatever shape he sees fit. Completing Conte’s image for the squad will now be the summer’s big project, which at this point is just like all other summer windows in recent memory for Spurs. The squad has been incomplete for a long time, and the ”painful rebuild” Mauricio Pochettino correctly suggested in 2019 has barely begun. Three years and three full-time managers later, Tottenham is again in a solid position to finally begin the task in earnest. One can hope the club is organized and clear in its vision to finally get the job done.
How would you grade Tottenham’s January transfer window?
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