Date: 18th May 2018 at 8:00pm
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The centre of our midfield could look very different at the start of next season. Mousa Dembele is being tipped to move to China,  while the club has been linked with a number of different central midfield players over the past couple of months.

The likes of Bryan Cristante, Andre Gomes, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Amadou Diawara and Mateo Kovacic have all been mentioned as options. It isn’t just a replacement for Mousa that we may be after though. Victor Wanyama’s early season problems with injury have meant he only recovered his place in the side very late on in the season,  while Eric Dier’s form in recent months has been nothing to write home about.

We do have promising players like Harry Winks who could add an extra option following his recovery from an ankle injury, but from the long list of holding midfielder players/central midfielders that are being linked, it does suggest that Mauricio Pochettino is considering an overhaul in the middle of the park.

Especially if we lose Dembele, this area of the pitch may need major surgery. The Belgian is a unique player, good at interceptions, able to turn on a sixpence and dribble with the ball out of trouble. You will very rarely find all of these attributes in one player so a direct replacement is likely to be out of the question.

Reshaping the midfield without Poch’s “genius” will mean changing the dynamic as well. For the most part this season, when Mousa has been fit, we have had one traditional holder (usually Dier) playing alongside him. The Belgian international can be utilised both as a ball-carrier but also as a second DM out of possession. The six names that we have been linked with above can’t do both roles.

Diawara and Kovacic are more traditional defensive midfielders, and although they are capable in possession, they are nowhere near our no.19’s level. In contrast Cristante, Gomes and Fernandes are far better going forward than defensively, while Neves plays more as a deep-lying playmaker.

For me, if Dembele does leave, his replacement has to be the club’s number one priority, and it will be interesting to see which way Pochettino goes to fill his role.


59 Replies to “This Position Has To Be Spurs’s Main Transfer Priority This Summer”

  • The way I look at it, our best team should have the following players in it – Lloris, Sanchez, Jan, Eriksen, Dele, Kane. The problem is, I can’t get past 6 nowadays. I’m sure I used to get to 8 or 9.

    We need to sort out the full-backs, the centre mid and ensure we have the option of playing either a 3rd centre half or 3rd attacking midfielder of the same quality as the other ones in the team. Obviously, Toby could easily achieve that if he stayed. So could a fit Wanyama and Rose.

    It’s a spot on article as the spine of the team is critical and centre mid is probably the most sub-optimal based in this season. The good news is that if someone like Dembele signs a contract extension AND we buy a top quality midfielder then we just offload Sissoko. If Dembele leaves then we still need to sign a new centre mid and keep Sissoko as 5th choice. My first choice target is still Ruben Neves. I would rather have a Carrick type player playing quarter back and then let the guys like Winks, Dembele or Wanyama cover the pitch. If Dier plays, then we simply push Neves up further forward and let him be the Scholes or Modric like schemer. He can do both role from what I’ve seen.

    The question becomes do we need 2 major centre mid signings. Could happen but my guess is that the 2nd one would be a real youngster like we did with Foyth.

  • Best solution would be simply to give Mousa a 3 -year contract extension. He’s one of our best players. In many ways the complete central midfielder, able to win the ball back and retain it like no other, good passer and always looking to go forward. No other player available in our price range will slit straight in the same mould. Same applies for Alderweireld. Give them both decent contract extensions- I’d take that over any 2 new signings!

  • I’d actually argue our top priority is finding back up for Kane, as its been for the past few years. Having said that there is a definite problem with the midfield. While we have plenty of good options for the three behind the striker there are few further back. Its why Sissoko has played so much, we’ve had no alternative. The one sitter and one pushing forward model has been used by Poch from the start, he used it at Southampton as well. So with question marks over the fitness of not just Dembele but Wanyama and Winks we really do need to see whose available. The problem is we may struggle to find players as good as we already have plus if we recruit from abroad expect a season to settle in. Incidentally Parklaneyido giving a three year contract to a player whose body may not be able to stand up to the physical demands of the premier league any more is insane.

  • Muttley, you keep insisting that we have a problem with our full-backs. (And you’re not the only one.)
    I’d like you to tell us more. Why are they not up to the job and what do you think should be done about it?

    Do we need replacements? If so, who do you think is viable?

    Personally, I can’t see much of a problem there, myself.

    If Rose leaves then yes, we will need another left-back. However I believe that Davies has improved a lot this past season and has done a very good job, both defensively and in attack and, likewise with Trippier.

    Aurier has been a bit hit and miss but I think he can also improve and become a very good player for Spurs. But, if not him, then I feel that Kyle Walker-Peters could possibly step-up, sooner than later…


    As for Dembele, much as I would love him to remain a Spur, I don’t think he is as important to our future progress as so many others do. Again, I think that under MP he has improved a lot but he is still not as effective as a box to box player as I think he can be. And defensively, he can be a bit loose. For me, (when moving forward) he has never been direct enough, often enough. And, so much of what he is praised for; Such as his dribbling skills, ball shielding and ball retention, is quite possibly what I think holds him back from being a very good player to being a great player. In other words, I think he holds on to the ball too much and unnecessarily so, a lot of the time. In this respect, I much prefer the quick and progressive passing of Winks and the more direct and speedy approach of Sissoko.

    Wanyama, I feel, is somewhere in-between them all and at least he is not afraid to shoot when he has the opportunity to. Both Dembele and Sissoko are really not the best in this respect… As for Dier, in spite of some of the criticisms’ he often receives, I think he is the most, reliable, useful and flexible of the lot of them. (Winks has not played regularly enough for me to know if he can also be just as solid as Eric).

    If Mousa Dembele is to leave, for whatever reason, I think that in Dier, Wanyama, Sissoko and Winks, that we have 4 very good options for the 2 in the DM area, all with different and varied skill sets…

    I have no idea who else we could buy to fill Dembele’s spot (or any of the others) and for now, I shall ignore any media reports on all the numerous, possible alternatives being touted. It could well be that Mousa ain’t going nowhere soon, anyway.

  • HT – You are spot on. As things stand there is no way Poch can afford to lose Sissoko. Its noticable that the fans who want to get rid of him are mostly silent about who replaces him. Without a replacement he goes nowhere. The problem with Wanyama and Winks is that while you hope their injuries are just a temporary problem you can’t be sure.

  • Good post HT and I think you sum up Dembele’s qualities or lack of very well. He looks impressive when he is winning the ball in midfield and then carrying the ball upfield but then rarely does anything positive when he gets to the edge of the opposition penalty area. He hardly ever takes an opportunity to shoot and often loses the ball cheaply because, as you say, he holds on to the ball for too long or misplaces a 5 yard sideways pass.

    I’ve taken a particular interest in watching current PL players this past few months who might fill this role for us and, apart from Shelvey who has been very good of late but has had behavioural issues in the past, Lemina at Southampton has really impressed me.

  • Mousa Dembele does an excellent job carrying the ball forward, plenty of strength, trickery, difficult to take the ball off, but then lets himself down with his non final ball pass and lack of goals, v some teams a loss, others not so sure, then add the injury problem, so to me thank you Mousa for a great service and it was great watching you.

    The 4 remaining CM’s to me will step up to the plate after a pre-season next season.

    As far as I can see we have sufficient players in the FB area, esp if DR stays, we will see improvement from Aurier, KWP a year older looks good to me, Trippier and Davies are getting better with age and experience.

    CB’s we currently have 3, allowing that Toby goes, to me a left sided player is required, I ask who?

    We do have a goal threat from our AM’s, Son, CE an Deli, Lamella is finally on the goal trail, Maura also from the little I/we have seen of him will be another goal threat, to me maybe a back up for CE is required.

    We definately need a back up for “our Arry”, someone who is prepared to sit on the bench and wait! so who? for when HK is injured, off form, even an off form HK is dangerous, he is going to want to play as many cup/ Prem games as he can to reclaim the Golden Boot, this season I think he played less lge games than Mo Salad, and missed out by 3gls, correct me if I am wrong.

    Some go on about we need this, we need that type of player, all and sundry are mentioned, again I ask who? to be perfectly honest all we have is opinions, Poch will know and in him I trust. COYS

  • For anyone interested………………..they are testing the roll out of the pitch this morning.

  • Good comments from everyone…

    I’ve just read that Harry Winks is to undergo surgery on his crocked right ankle. Hopefully this will do the trick and that he can regain his fitness and confidence, enough for when he does get playing again… He was very impressive to me in the games he played before his accident…

  • Dembele will be 31 it is a risk to give him a contract to 35 as he has had lots of injuries. The best he could hope for is a 1 year contract extension , which would end when he’ 33. Dembele has never been played in his best position which is (DM)so we have never seen how his skill set helps an efficiently set up team win games. Botch plays with two lumps in the middle, he did it at southampton and he has done it at spurs. Whoever spurs brings in to replace Dembele won’t improve spurs as the team set up is Flawed.

  • Yet more praise for Poch and Spurs from Pep…

    “I enjoy watching football and different teams and the players they have,” said Guardiola.
    When questioned whether he had any preference of who he likes to watch, the City boss instantly replied “Tottenham.”

    “Since the beginning I enjoy playing Tottenham. I like a lot how they play.”

  • Ht…I hope the operation will do the trick because I was impressed with Winks prior to his injury, I think that there is a good CM in him just waiting to arrive, he is young and still has a lot to learn with time on his side, fingers crossed that the op does the business.

    palmover…”Botch plays with two lumps in the middle” ” the team set up is flawed” 2 awful/flawed comments, bloody hell you arm chair coach, haven’t you noticed we finished 3rd behind the 2 biggest spenders/richest clubs in the Prem, and in above of the other 3 richer than us, not bad for, as you say/assess a second rate coach.

    palmover…you again, “Whoever spurs bring in to replace Dembele won’t improve spurs” ok lets not bother looking for hopefully a more refined replacement, in fact why bother selling or buying any new players. COYS

  • When we are talking about a replacement for Dembele we aren’t necessarily looking like for like. Winks is a very different player but has shown he can do the job. Anyone we bring in must be able to defend as well as launch attacks but whether you need the physical power I’m not sure.

  • There’s always the option of dropping Eriksen back and playing him like De Bruyne at City with Dier in the DMC role as usual. Get in someone like Malcom and play him and Moura on the wings with Alli and Kane up front. I heard somewhere that Sonny was going to be Kane’s back-up next season – decision of MP – not sure if that’s gonna be the case or not but option’s are a great thing so the signing of Malcom would be a no brainer addition.

  • We need wingers – we have only Moura and maybe Son at a stretch apart from that we are bare. Bring on Malcom and Sesssegnon I say!! Dembele sign a new 3 year contract and be done with it – will take him upto 34 and that’s should be pretty much his lot. Mahrez and Zaha are other options so there’s plenty to pick from. Lamela needs to stay perhaps and be Alli’s sub if and when necessary. Sonny for Kane as back-up and again inter-changing with any new signing on the LW aswell. Option’s and plenty of them – then we can prioritise all competition’s equally!!!!

  • Of course there are good MFers out there, they just need unearthing as Leicester proved with Kante, the big PL clubs all missed out on him whilst looking for more expensive high profile alternatives, he would have suited us down to the ground as he has proved both at Leicester and latterly at Chelsea. It is just a question of imaginative recruitment, looking beyond the obvious and the most expensive.

  • Most of the players we are discussing are outside our self imposed austerity fee and wages limits, after all we must return a transfer window profit as we have in 3 of the 4 years of Poch’s reign.

  • The best solution would be to have dembele as squad player,it’s unlikely he’ll stay probably wants his last contract to be big payday.with regards our other midfield options i don’t see any creative player, winks probably the only onethat gets the ball moving around the park but big question marks regarding his ankle injury. Dier this season has asserted himself as the first choice defensive midfielder but passing ain’t his strongest point, wanyama likewise both play a lot of of sideways passes,sissoko no comment needed HT. possible solution although not sure myself dropping alli back into midfield but he does tend to give possession away quiet often , just after this season if teams defend deep in numbers delli seems to drift out of games whereas he may have more space playing deeper but like I say not so sure he’s d player we need in midfield.suggestions on players to buy dream signing Lula modric sorry I’ve awoke from that fantasy , Serri , jorghino,Fred of shaktar donetsk , ceballos @ Madrid, but has’nt got game time since moving.

  • I actually think we need a change in midfield and i think Dembele is holding us back. What is he? He certainly isnt a fully dm or an attacking one. On his day he can dictate the game but all too often hes predictable in the sense players kjow he is going to hold onto the ball and dribble and they know he isnt going to shoot or create and i think this hinders us at times. If we play a dm we need someone who is going to create and even score a few. I prefer to see a change now because he hasnt added enough to his game. We will lose his attributes but a different style in the middle may be just what we need. Ideally he stays and we still bring in another to replace sissoko but he if he goes im not too concerned we need a change of style in the middle one that will give opposition something to worry about, one that can shoot and score for a start.

  • Farnk, Im sorry, it is not about how much is spent, it is how it is spent … you can sell 100m worth of players and spend 60m getting 2 in a 40m profit. you need to let go of the net spend every year … its teh funds being spent on the wrong players. Sissoko,Llorente etc … would rather get shaqiri of Stoke and sell Sissoko, sissoko brings fuck all to the team… proves time and time again and after 2 seasons he has had enough time. Aurier, jury out on him now he costs us too much …

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