It is, in many ways, very sad but Hugo Lloris has very likely made his last appearance as a Tottenham Hotspur player. Spurs interim-interim-head coach Ryan Mason has already told reporters that Lloris will miss the remainder of the season with a muscular injury sustained during the first half of Tottenham’s 6-1 loss at Newcastle a few weeks ago. The 36-year old Lloris is entering into the final year of his existing contract, the club has no interest in extending it further, and it’s very likely that he’ll be leaving Tottenham this summer.
But whither? Well, that’s the question. But according to the Times (£), he has at least one (very lucrative) offer on the table. Tom Allnutt is reporting that Hugo has been offered a huge deal to play in Saudi Arabia next season for £300,000/wk, about triple his current Tottenham salary.
Setting aside the sociopolitical morass currently surrounding the Saudi government’s attempts to get a foothold into football, the Saudi league (along with Qatar and other Middle Eastern national leagues) has been a sort of unofficial retirement home for aging European footballers. Lloris is said to be “open to a new challenge” and while challenge isn’t exactly how I’d describe playing football in Saudi Arabia, it’s certainly a way to snag some last-minute fuck-you money at the end of a long career.
Hugo doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to decide, and Allnutt writes that he’s currently waiting to talk to Daniel Levy at the end of the season to determine his future at Spurs; he’s also apparently waiting to see who Tottenham appoint as their next manager before he makes any decisions. If he does decide, he’ll be in the same league as Cristiano Ronaldo and, apparently, Lionel Messi as of next year. Allnutt notes that Wilfried Zaha and Sergio Busquets are both also linked with moves to KSA.
There are a lot of reasons why I wouldn’t be especially wild about Tottenham doing business with a Saudi team, but one upside is that whatever team it is that’s interested they’re likely to offer real money for a 36-year old keeper entering into the final year of his contract. Everything else aside, that’s not too shabby a deal. I also don’t know how likely it is Hugo packs his bags for the Middle East — I always kind of assumed he’d end up back in France for his final years in football. He might yet do that — Hugo’s talked about returning home, and he’s a family man.
But mostly I’m just sad that this is likely how it’s going to end — not with one last celebratory ovation from the Tottenham faithful in celebration of 11 years of excellent service from one of the best keepers to ever play for Spurs, but with the bitter taste of a sub-par season and a humiliating loss. Hugo deserves more than that. I hope he gets it.