Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is one of the few players who has not thrived under new manager Ange Postecoglou. Somewhat a symbol of bygone eras at this point (it’s nice thinking about how far removed it feels we are from the last few seasons), the Dane has seen his playing time dwindle under Ange; and it seems he is no longer appreciating the culinary options available around the middle of the day at Enfield, having already had an eye looking elsewhere over the summer.
In recent weeks, the links away from Tottenham have begun to stir again, with multiple outlets (mostly tabloids) linking a few clubs with the midfielder, none of which seemed to hold much water. Charlie Eccleshare at The Athletic is, however, a reliable source, and he has more on Hojbjerg’s situtation (plus some more on the overall strategy of Tottenham’s January business):
- CB the priority: Todibo, Dragusin, Tosin + Kelly all on the list— Charlie Eccleshare (@CDEccleshare) December 21, 2023
- Will move for Gallagher if Chelsea willing to sell
- Jota an option; Toney seen as unlikely
- Latest on PEH + possible outgoings
What to expect from Spurs in January. Piece ⬇️https://t.co/P7rLWrk7pB
There’s a few names mentioned around center back targets, most of whom we’ve written about on this site; but there’s a bit more detail around Hojbjerg’s suitors. Ajax are apparently interested, but are likely to be priced out of a deal, with Tottenham only wanting either a straight sale or loan with obligation to buy as Hojbjerg’s contract dwindles. It’s said as well that Ajax is not necessarily Hojbjerg’s preference, which... have you followed Ajax recently? To say they’re not exactly setting the Eredivisie alight would be putting it mildly.
Barcelona, though not mentioned in Eccleshare’s article, has also been mentioned by a couple of outlets in recent days. This is probably the most Bat Country of the links, with Spurs (as mentioned above) wanting actual money for Hojbjerg, not Barcelona’s latest palanca, which is probably something like a discount on a timeshare the way things are going financially for Barca at this point.
The team that has kept popping up time and time again though is Juventus, who recently lost Paul Pogba to a doping ban and are looking for a replacement. Italian football would likely suit Hojbjerg, and he reportedly wouldn’t be opposed to heading to Turin should Juve push for his signing.
One thing Hojbjerg leaving would signal, however, would be the need to sign further midfield reinforcements. That need would be further exacerbated due to the long-term injuries of James Maddison and Rodrigo Bentancur (plus who knows what Gio Lo Celso will have broken next), as well as the absences of Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma due to AFCON. Add to that the fact that Oliver Skipp seems to have become more adept at increasing Spurs’ homegrown numbers than adding much impetus in midfield, and the central areas seem sorely in need of additions.
There haven’t been many links in terms of the central positions as we head into January, but one player that Eccleshare does mention is Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher. Spurs were linked to him late in the summer window, and are still interested in him as a potential option. He’s been playing very well in a below-par Chelsea team this season in a slightly deeper role, and would work well as one of Ange’s attacking eights. Chelsea reportedly are willing to sell, as Gallagher winds down his contract and Chelsea face running afoul of FFP, with recent reports indicating offers above £40 million would be considered. Whether Chelsea would consider a decent bid from Tottenham remains to be seen, however, with historic bad blood between the back offices of both clubs.
Strap yourself in folks: silly season is just beginning!