Is this the beginning of the end for Tom Carroll? The central midfielder has fallen dramatically down the pecking order under Mauricio Pochettino and hasn’t been seen in the Tottenham Hotspur first team since the 2-1 EFL Cup loss to Liverpool in late October.
It’s looking more and more likely that Tom is ready for the exit door, and today Swansea City manager Bob Bradley confirmed that Carroll is a player that he’s interested in bringing to Wales as he tries to pull his club out of a relegation battle.
“You get different names out on the table, and then there discussions about which ones fit the best and which ones have the greatest chance to happen. Transfer windows aren't always easy to plan out every detail. Things change quickly.
"The starting point is making sure we've got good names and we've done our research. A lot goes into it, and I think we are looking at some interesting possibilities, and now we keep our fingers crossed.
“And yes, Tom is a player who everyone here knows. He’s been around in the past, he’s certainly a good footballer and he’s a player who has been discussed.
“Every player that appears on the table also then gets looked at in comparison to with other players, guys bring different pluses. What Tom brings as a footballer is he is technically sharp, a good passer, and those are qualities a team can use.
“We just have to look at how those attributes compare with other players who pop up.”
Once upon a time, Carroll was a young midfielder trying to break into the squad in the Redknapp years and he impressed early on with his silky-smooth passing and high level of football intelligence. He drew comparisons (from us, naturally) to a young Xavi, and it sparked a meme that has yet to fully fade on this site. He is, after all, better than Pele.
It seems clear now that, Cartilage Free Captain man-crush aside, Tom doesn’t really have a future anymore at Tottenham. He’s now solidly behind Harry Winks as the fifth choice central midfielder. He’s 24 years old now, and his developmental ceiling has leveled off somewhat. It’s no longer reasonable to expect that Tommy can get significantly better. He is, as of now, more or less what he is.
That’s not to say that he’s not a cromulent central midfielder — he probably is, just not with Spurs. So a move to Wales might make a lot of sense: he spent the 2014-15 season on loan there, making 18 appearances. Swansea could use a midfielder with Tom’s passing ability, and he’d be instant competition if not an upgrade for Jay Fulton or Jack Cork. Frankly, Swansea could use all they help they can get.
This is still a transfer rumor and Bradley’s comments don’t indicate that Carroll will be sold, but it’s clear he’s essentially surplus to requirements right now — earlier this week he played with the U23s in the Premier League 2, suggesting he won’t feature against Hull City tomorrow. And if Tommy’s not ready to feature for Hull, he’s probably not going to feature against anyone else. It would surprise nobody if he’s sold or loaned when the window opens.
Carroll is rumored to be valued at around £10m. Start preparing your tearful goodbyes and your English Xavi shrines. And light a candle for Harper Jun.