Yesterday’s news that Djed Spence was having his season-long loan at Leeds United terminated at the midway point of the season apparently came as a shock to Tottenham Hotspur. Neither Tottenham Hotspur nor Leeds’ official statements gave any suggestion as to why the move took place, but Leeds suggested manager Daniel Farke would expound upon it in his press conference ahead of their FA Cup match at Peterborough this weekend.
That press conference has now happened, and while Farke didn’t explicitly say why he let Djed return to his home club, he did give some pretty dang strong hints.
“After a little bit of time after the New Year’s game we’ve analysed the first half of the season, the first months and especially also the impressions over the over the festive periods. Obviously when you make decisions in January, it’s not a short term decision. It’s more like you’re thinking over situations even in the weeks and the month before but we wanted also to take the impressions of the festive period into account and then there was a time also to share the thoughts and to discuss the things. We came to the conclusion that we will end the loan for for Djed and he will return back to Tottenham. We are grateful for his time here.
“He’s a player of great potential and also a cool guy with a really good heart so we really wish him all the best. But yeah, sometimes you need to take a decision then you have to do this.
“I don’t want to talk too much about Djed right now, because he’s meanwhile also back at Tottenham, and I totally respect that he’s their player. Listen, in the summer we came here in order to create and to bring new values and to create a new culture within the club and when we speak about a player if he’s on here on a permanent or a loan deal, we have expectations and these expectations are in several topics important.
“Obviously it’s important, the potential and the quality of the player but also it’s professionalism, it’s discipline, it’s workload on and off the pitch and also the soft skills, so also if he’s positive and committed, good for the group and engaged with these topics, paint then more or less a picture.
“And we decided okay, this is the player we want in our group and want to represent Leeds Leeds United, our demands are very, very high and we don’t differ between loan players, permanent players so we are pretty picky in this topic.”
Ouch. Well, Farke doesn’t come out and just say that Djed Spence is a problem (I honestly thought he might do just that) but he does paint a pretty vivid picture, doesn’t he? Look, Farke doesn’t beat around the bush. You might remember he was managing Norwich City a few years back when Marcus Edwards had his disastrous loan that ended up being a terminal moment to his Tottenham career. Farke did not mince words about what he thought about Edwards’ attitude and shortcomings. Edwards, it should be noted, has seemed to turn his career around in Portugal and is now being linked back to the Premier League (though not with Spurs). Sometimes young athletes just need to grow up a little.
That said, any time a manager brings up the words professionalism, discipline, and workload in a press conference that’s in part about why he let a loan player leave six months before he was supposed to, it’s not a good sign. So while Farke didn’t spell it out, it’s not too difficult to connected these dots which he conveniently laid out in a pretty straight line for us.
Meanwhile, Sami Mokbel (the only solid reporter at the Daily Mail) writes that Tottenham have now immediately put Spence on the transfer list, confirming why Ange Postecoglou loaned Spence out to begin with.
This is, ultimately, just sad. It’s sad that it’s come to this, and disappointing that Djed has seemingly ruined what could’ve been a prime opportunity to enhance his career. I don’t know where he goes from here, but it won’t be at Leeds and it seems like it won’t be at Tottenham Hotspur either.