F365’s summer transfer guide: Tottenham to Wolves

Date published: Friday 31st May 2019 7:50

This is the fifth and final part. Arsenal to Burnley is here, Chelsea to Leicester can be found here, Liverpool to Manchester United (ft. Aston Villa) is here and Newcastle to Southampton is right here.

 

Tottenham

What do they need?
A new signing, their first since January 2018. Hell, maybe even go mad and bring in a few playersA Champions League final berth with no additions to an already threadbare squad for 18 months should not distract from the issues in this Tottenham squad, such as the lack of a reliable right-back and a shallow, limited list of midfield options. ‘More squad depth, and high-class replacements for those who do choose to depart to stop Mauricio Pochettino getting itchy feet’ was our recommendation 12 months ago, and obviously nothing has changed. Sorting out the futures of Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Janssen wouldn’t go amiss, either.

What will they get?
Young, hungry talents that can be moulded (Juan Foyth, Dele Alli, Ben Davies, Eric Dier), outcasts at European outposts (Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Serge Aurier) or a combination of the two (Clinton N’jie, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, Davinson Sanchez). Tottenham would be as stupid to sign seven or eight new players as they would to bring in none again, and Pochettino can be trusted to strike that difficult balance. But the only signings over the age of 26 that the manager has made since summer 2016 are Fernando Llorente and Moussa Sissoko, so the continuing focus on youth seems a given. Ryan Sessegnon, Jack Clarke, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso all fit Tottenham’s various bills, but that right-back upgrade really must be delivered.

What’s been said:
“If we believe that if we operate in the same way that we have operated in the last five years we are going to be every season in the final of the Champions League, and in the top four and competing against projects like Liverpool or Manchester City or Manchester United, I think we are very naive. If you want to expect the same from Liverpool, from Manchester City or Manchester United and Chelsea, and you put the same expectation on Tottenham, give me different tools to work” – Mauricio Pochettino, May 2019.

 

Watford

What do they need?
“Players leaving doesn’t concern me. It is when players don’t leave, that’s the issue,” said CEO Scott Duxbury four months ago. Therein lies the beauty of the Watford model, where timing is everything. They have maximised the departures of Richarlison, Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra in recent years, receiving around £67.5m for those three players alone and reinvesting the funds to improve exponentially. Will Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stock ever be higher? Could Gerard Deulofeu’s sale be countenanced? Might cashing in on Roberto Pereyra be advisable? It would certainly help fill bigger gaps in the squad, such as those at left-back, in central defence and up front. Watford are in a healthy position, but need to be as ruthless as ever to keep progressing.

What will they get?
It’s difficult to say. Watford are unpredictable in the transfer market as it is, but Javi Gracia’s relatively short tenure offers no real clues either. His six permanent first-team signings at Vicarage Road so far have been 18, 22, 24, 24, 24 and 35, a midfielder, a right-back, a right-winger, a left-winger, a left-back and a goalkeeper coming in from West Ham, Espanyol, Barcelona, Östersunds, Bologna and West Brom for £1m, £1.8m, £11.5m, £2m, £4.5m and £4m respectively. So expect at least one 24-year-old non-striker to join for £4.1m from La Liga.

What’s been said:
“[Former owner Sir Elton John] absolutely has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the lower-division players, it is incredible. He is in constant communication both with opinions of how the team has played, opinions on players, who we should be signing. I will probably hear from him on a daily basis on one matter or another. He recommends players that I have not heard of. He watches everything and he has a real knowledge of players and an absolute passion for the football club, it’s not superficial” – CEO Scott Duxbury, February 2019.

 

West Ham

What do they need?
A new centre-half, with the perma-crocked Winston Reid currently their fourth option. A new central midfielder, with Mark Noble now 32 and Declan Rice incapable of anchoring that position entirely by himself. A new striker, with Andy Carroll leaving, Javier Hernandez reportedly eager to follow, Marko Arnautovic likely to kick up another fuss and Lucas Perez afflicted with an incurable case of being Lucas Perez. Lowering the average age might be an idea, too.

What will they get?
The confirmed departures of three players is likely to signal the start of a mini-exodus of sorts, with a bloated squad cut down to size. In terms of incomings, the low-risk, high-reward, intelligent signings of Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena was proof enough that West Ham do not have to shout the loudest to make a statement. Buying on suitability rather than reputation seemed rather beneficial, so links to Lorient forward Alexis Claude-Maurice, Alaves centre-half Guillermo Maripan and Club Brugge striker Wesley Moraes seem viable. Andre Gomes would be a huge bonus.

What’s been said:
“This time last year, we made a strategic decision to invest significantly in the football operation, appointing a world-class manager and backing him with the largest transfer budget in our history, the first step in a long-term plan that remains on schedule and heading in the right direction. There is great anticipation and excitement about what lies in store for next season” – Joint-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan, May 2019.

 

Wolves

What do they need?
Nothing drastic. They have one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers behind one of its most organised defences, and a central-midfield pairing many should envy supplying an incredibly effective centre-forward. Depth will be the key, and that would be the case even without the advent of Europa League football. Nuno’s starting XI can and has competed with the very best, but this is a squad lacking worthwhile alternatives at centre-half and up front. Midfielders Leander Dendoncker and Roman Saiss are the first cabs off the rank when the three-man defence is not at full-strength, and Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota were the only players to score more than four Premier League goals in their first season back in the top flight.

What will they get?
A few more favours from Jorge Mendes. One £30m transfer has already been completed but that will be the exception to the rule. Fosun Group mouthpiece Jeff Shi recently spoke of using the loan market again as a sort of trial period, and that has undoubtedly worked with Jimenez, Jonny, Dendoncker, Diogo Jota and Willy Boly in recent windows. Expect more of the same, with a smattering of smaller permanent signings, in an attempt to bulk up the squad: Brighton and Manchester City were the only other teams to use as few as 21 players in the Premier League, and both Max Kilman and Will Norris only played a single minute each.

What’s been said:
“It’s always two parts; I think the first part is how our players in our squad now, how can they improve for the next season? You can see, for example, Diogo [Jota], he has improved a lot, while some of the players were from the Championship, but you can see that they can handle it very well in the Premier League. I think the first thing is that we want to see more growth and more development from the current squad, but the next thing is about how to do something in the window. I think, depending on Nuno’s identity and philosophy, we are very clear about what profile of player we want. I have just talked with Nuno and he thinks the philosophy will be the same so we will still try to keep a small squad. We will not do something like, ‘OK, we have one more tournament, let’s get more players’. After the tournament, what do you do with them? We will not do these kind of things. We will still try to keep a small squad, which Nuno wants, but in the meantime it requires higher quality from our academy players” – Executive chairman Jeff Shi, May 2019.

Matt Stead

 

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