As Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris prepares to lead his France side into the World Cup final on Sunday, 90MAAT thought we should take a look at the impact of the World Cup on Tottenham’s transfer hopes, squad, mentality and the rest looking forward to the new season.
It’s been widely reported that Spurs are the most well represented club from the semi-finals with 9 players vying for glory. Lloris from France, Alderweireld, Dembele and Vertonghen of Belgium and Kane, Dier, Dele, Rose and Trippier of England, all key players for the North London outfit. On the one hand, it is great for the club for these players to be getting late tournament experience which could be important for Tottenham’s ability to achieve their trophy winning aspirations for the coming season.
However, it is important to note 8 of that 9 are only playing the 3rd place play off on Saturday. Why does this matter? Well, these 8 players are losing more days of preseason and the issue of fatigue, as was evidence by England towards the end of the Croatia game, could be become a major factor at the start of the season and beyond. Additionally, Kieran Trippier looks to have picked up a groin injury which will be a devastating blow for him and for Spurs if it proves to be serious (EDIT: He was seen in England training today 13/07/2018 so all is good, I hope…).
While for the English cohort reaching the semi-final will in time be looked back on with fondness and pride, for the Belgians, the failure of their golden generation might just hurt a little more. Although Alderweireld and Dembele are looking like moving on, there is undoubtedly going to be somewhat of a World Cup hangover for all Spurs involved. This time last year I said that Pochettino’s challenge was going to be reuniting a dressing room that had just started to look like bursting at the seams. He did that successfully. This season, his challenge is going to be refocusing his impressive cohort of World Cup stars on club matters.
The World Cup may also have a significant impact on Spurs’ transfer dealings. Almost predictably, the talk of money to spend and early transfers to be made has fallen flat. Levy clearly wants to sell before he buys, not exactly what I would call being “brave”. The long run in the World Cup for the Spurs key men has caused further delays to any transfer plans. While it is pretty clear that Dembele is going, Alderweireld is likely to go also, and Levy is willing to listen to offers of Rose.
Tottenham like to make sure the money is in the bank before splashing on players, and while their main transfer assets have been, and are still, away on international duty this has not been possible. With a shortened window now Levy is going to have to move fast to make any acquisitions wanted by Pochettino.
Currently, the only player Spurs really look in for is Wilmar Barrios of Boca Juniors and Columbia, and despite the player allegedly saying he is leaving for North London this transfer appears far from going through. Another target had been Ivan Perisic, the man who tormented Kyle Walker against England on Wednesday night, but he has probably doubled his asking price this tournament. Levy had been hoping to use Dembele as part of the Perisic deal, but its looking like that transfer is going to require a lot more cash than the notorious chairman is willing to part with.
On the other hand, the furore surrounding the World Cup, and the players featuring in it, has meant other targets may have become available at a cheaper price, namely Malcom of Bordeaux. The talented Brazilian looks like a Douglas Costa reincarnation, and if he becomes anywhere near as good the Brazil and Juventus star currently is then Spurs could be picking up an extremely effective player.
Similarly, the race for midfielder Jack Grealish seems to have died down leaving Spurs with a clear shot on goal for the promising, if somewhat live wire, Aston Villa starlet.
With the start to the season already looking chaotic for Spurs, with games played at Wembley and away from home before entering the boiling couldron of a new staidum and the expectation that comes with, having a strong cohort at the latter stages of the World Cup is both good and bad. Ultimately time will tell if the Spurs players having taken this positively, or have suffered physically and emotionally.
We should remind ourselves that other clubs have similar numbers at this stage, and a World Cup year makes transfer dealings difficult for everyone. With Barrios close and Grealish now rumoured to be on a similar trajectory, another forward signing with likes of Malcom or Perisic and a defensive replacement for Alderweireld would make this a positive summer for a Tottenham side still looking to progress and become one of Europes Elite.
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