Death, taxes, and Tottenham Hotspur letting down their fans; the only three things guaranteed in life. It’s been another unsuccessful season for North London’s finest in 2020-21. I don’t even know where to begin. There’s the lingering European Super League debacle, the absolute failure of a Europa League campaign, the Jose saga and sacking before the biggest game of the season, and Harry Kane, the only player keeping the team relevant, wants to leave. Maybe I am too critical of the club and Daniel Levy’s doings, but 2020-21 was a massive step back for Spurs.
The summer of 2021 will be dominated by international fixtures and post-covid partying, but at White Hart Lane there will be none of the latter. Like Mauricio Pochettino warned of, Tottenham are in need of a rebuild, and with European football looking unlikely, options in the transfer market will be diminished. A rebuild will certainly be long and painful, but it is important to take the right steps early on. The board is also short on cash and it has been rumored that Levy will only spend money generated from player sales in the summer window.
With all that being said, there are five main decisions Tottenham must make this summer, some contingent on others:
- Who is the new manager?
- What happens to Harry Kane?
- If Kane is sold, how much is he sold for and who is his “replacement?”
- Deal with Lloris, Lamela, and Aurier (contracts all expire in 2022)
- Process of rebuilding center back
2021 is a year of low supply and high demand for world class managers. After missing out on top target Julian Nagelsmann, Levy has now turned his attention to Brendan Rodgers. The Leicester boss is reportedly not interested, but if the foxes bottle a spot in the top 4 for a second consecutive season, Rodgers might be tempted into leaving the King Power. Some supporters even want interim manager Ryan Mason to retain his position at the helm, but the young lad is too inexperienced and hasn’t done anything to earn the job long-term.
A more realistic option is Graham Potter from Brighton. Known for creating a lot of chances and playing attacking football, Potter has made Brighton an intriguing team. There are very few legitimate candidates out there, and while Potter might not be the big hire some of us are hoping for, he’s a great fit and knows the Premier League.
If Harry Kane wants to spend his prime on a mediocre rebuilding team, I would love for him to stick around, but a move away is inevitable in the summer. It’s now or never for the 27-year-old to leave his boyhood club, which will surely be a bittersweet goodbye for Kane. The likes of Manchester United and Man City are interested in his services, and despite a down year in the market, I expect at least £100 million (roughly $140 million) in return.
Now with Kane gone, a massive roster hole presents itself up top. Carlos Vinicius is clearly not the answer and will not be returning to the club after his year-long loan. Rather than putting the burden of replacing Kane on one player, a striker-by-committee approach is the way to go. Ideally I would bring in at least 3 options. First, Dane Scarlett would be elevated full time to the first team squad. Scarlett has seen less than 20 minutes of first team game time in 2020-21 across all competitions, a number which will surely increase next campaign. Even if he is 3rd choice CF at times, first team football is necessary for Scarlett’s development.
With the small fortune of 100 million quid from Kane’s sale, Levy and company need to be active players in the transfer market. Two of my favored options are Paulo Dybala and Daryl Dike. After falling out of favor with a Juventus side that has its own share of problems, 27-year-old Paulo Dybala will be eyeing a move away from Turin this summer. The Argentine could be scooped up for a fee in the range of 35 to 40 million quid, a bargain for a player of Dybala’s quality.
My last addition to the front line would be Daryl Dike, a 20-year-old forward on loan to Barnsley from MLS side Orlando City. Dike has torn up the Championship, with 9 goals since arriving in February, leading the Tykes to a playoff spot. The “Oklahoman Lukaku” is built like an American football player and would be a solid substitute to win balls in the air and make the most out of chances. Expect a fee of no less than £15 million.
Ideally, game time would be split 60%/25%/15% for Dybala, Dike, and Scarlett respectively, but each player would get an opportunity to prove themselves and earn more playing time.
Next, Levy must make a decision on the expiring contracts of Hugo Lloris, Erik Lamela, and Serge Aurier. There is more potential deadweight I would like to get rid of, but for the sake of the article I’ll just be focusing on these three. Lloris is aging and still has quality performances in him, but consistency has been an issue as of late. It’s not worth it to sell the Frenchman for anything less than £10 million, so it would probably be best to let the club legend see out the final year of his contract, since no clear replacement is lined up.
On the other hand, I would recommend selling Lamela, and I see no reason why that won’t happen in 2021. A move back to Italy for around £20 million sounds reasonable to me. Lastly, my decision on Aurier is to wait a year and offer a possible extension. Aurier is currently Tottenham’s best option at RB, but he has been quite inconsistent and is not the future. If he can perform adequately in 2021-22, Aurier deserves another contract, although I’m not opposed to selling the lad if the right offer comes in.
The most obvious roster hole heading into the summer is at center back. My first move to address the position would be to sell Toby Alderweireld for around £15 million. The Belgian is a club legend at WHL, but his better days are in the past and his end product has declined this year. Costing in the area of £25 million, the perfect replacement for Alderweireld is Lyon’s Joachim Andersen. The 24-year-old Dane has been one of the few standouts on loan at Fulham this year in a side destined for relegation. There are certainly better center-halves out there, but Andersen would arguably be Spurs’ best CB.
With the estimated £45 million left from selling fees, Levy will likely try to sign one more player and save anything else due to the current financial situation. Ideally Tottenham would bring in Marcel Sabitzer, a midfielder at RB Leipzig who they have been linked to for quite some time. It’s unclear whether or not the sacking of Mourinho will diminish either party’s interest in one another, but the Austrian would still be a wonderful option for £30 million. Another strong option in midfield is Yves Bissouma. The Mali international currently plays under Graham Potter at Brighton and would probably command a similar fee to that of Sabitzer.