How Spurs can be Contenders Again

In a few short years, Tottenham Hotspur’s former manager Mauricio Pochettino turned the club from also-rans into genuine contenders in all competitions. Rival fans will point to the lack of additions to Spurs’ trophy cabinet, but it’s fair to say that 2015 to 2020 was a golden era for the team.

Premier League title challenges and a Champions League final appearance show just how far the club had come during the Pochettino years but, as 2020/21 finally looms on the horizon, Tottenham are facing an uncertain future.

Painful End

By the end of 2020, Pochettino had gone after a poor run of results. In his place, Chairman Daniel Levy opted to employ the highly successful José Mourinho and many fans were placated by the appointment. As the EPL returned in June, Spurs were languishing in eighth place and rated as a 20/1 chance in the Premier League betting markets to finish inside the top four.

As Pochettino left, Tottenham supporters were reminded of his claims that the squad was in need of a ‘painful rebuild’ in the previous summer. The changes failed to come so the question now is, can Mourinho put Spurs back on course?

Holding On

Camp Dele Alli” (CC BY 2.0) by domfell

As is the case with all clubs, Tottenham will firstly need to hold on to their best assets. Former Premier League players Teddy Sheringham and Paul Merson have both hinted that Harry Kane will need to move away from Spurs, if he is to add the silverware to match his prolific scoring tally. Kane is in sight of Jimmy Greaves’ all-time scoring record, but those simmering transfer rumours suggest that now is the time to look at alternative employment.

When José arrived in North London, he promised to make Kane a ‘winner’, and it’s generally assumed that the striker will give the manager a chance to deliver on that promise. If he stays, 2020/21 could be the pivotal season in his club career.

Tottenham will also be looking to keep the likes of Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli at the club, but it seems unlikely that they will be purchasing a backup striker. Kane has flourished as the main target man and, while Merson was particularly critical of the ‘one upfront’ set up, it’s unlikely to change.

Missing Piece

 

So what type of player will be brought into the club? Reactions were mixed when Christian Eriksen left for Inter Milan in January, but his assists and goal-scoring records will be missed. Spurs need to effectively replace Eriksen and find a player who can provide those chances for Kane, Son and Alli from midfield.

With Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld just reaching the respective ends of their careers, a centre-back may also be a priority, while many see Serge Aurier as a liability on the right side of the defence. Pochettino’s calls for a rebuild may be echoing but, in truth, few changes are needed for Spurs to get back from the fringes of mid-table and up into the Premier League.