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Dominant performance shows Victor Wanyama is ready to regain Tottenham starting spot

The Kenyan international has been in positive form in recent weeks.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Victor Wanyama has had a frustrating season to date. The Kenyan international has developed significantly since moving to Tottenham, but a serious knee injury led to him missing the majority of the first half of the season. The midfielder told the Daily Mail that it was the lowest point of his career:

“This has been a dark time for me. When Tottenham played Real Madrid at Wembley and I had to watch… I wanted to play so badly, it was probably the lowest point of my career.”

It can be difficult to motivate yourself as a player when injured, especially when your team-mates are doing excellently in the Champions League. Wanyama would have been in the stands watching as Spurs beat Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid to top their group.

The road to recovery has been a long one and, at the time of writing, he is still on the fringes of the first-team as he steps up his recovery. Wanyama has played 11 times in the Premier League, but only three of those have been as a starter. Mauricio Pochettino is known for being careful with players returning from injury and the gradual easing in of the Kenyan shows that.

(Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images for Premier League )

However, his performance against Bournemouth was his best since his return and it indicated that he is ready for more starts in the near future. He dominated the middle of the park with his power and athleticism, as shown by his six successful tackles during the match. Further to this, he made two interceptions and proved why he is considered one of the best ball-winning midfielders in the league when fully-fit.

Wanyama is more than a pure ball-winner though, as he has proven himself an asset in transition. Tottenham rely on their central midfielders to carry the ball forward into the attacking half after winning the ball as it sets up their attack nicely and allows them to stretch the opposition defence. On Sunday, he completed three dribbles and showed good decision making on the ball.

Before joining Tottenham, it was thought that Wanyama was poor in possession, but he has worked on that side of the game and he is now effective when distributing the ball. He finished the match at the Vitality Stadium with a pass success rate of 85%. Although he didn’t make any key passes, his creativity isn’t why he is in the team. His role is to win the ball, bring it out of defence and give it to one of the attack-minded players. That role was carried out perfectly at Bournemouth.

Eric Dier has been his ever-consistent self this season and has done well in midfield in the absence of Wanyama, but Tottenham look a better team when the latter is in the starting eleven. He is more dynamic and a much better ball-winner, while he can quickly turn defence to attack. At times, the former can struggle to impose himself on games.

A quick comparison between the two highlights this, as Wanyama averages 3.27 ball recoveries per ninety minutes as opposed to Dier’s 2.7. Meanwhile, the Kenyan has a pass completion rate of 88%, which is slightly higher than his teammate, with 86%.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Considering Dier has had a lot more game-time this season, his stats are likely to be reflective of his ability. On the other hand, Wanyama has been building his match fitness levels up during this period. His ball recoveries per ninety minutes are likely to increase with more starts.

Pochettino is a manager that looks to rotate and there will be opportunities for both players. The return to form of Wanyama could even see the Argentine move back to a 3-4-2-1 formation with Dier going to centre-back. There are options to be more flexible, which wasn’t the case when the midfielder was out injured at the same time as Toby Alderweireld.

Although Tottenham are out of the Champion League, they still have a lot to play for. Pochettino will want to finish in second, while the opportunity to win the FA Cup should be taken seriously as this group of players has yet to lift a trophy.

Heading into the run-in, they need to play their best players in each position and this past weekend showed that Wanyama is one of those.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Tottenham Hotspur

Salomon Rondon would be ideal back-up for Harry Kane and Tottenham

Josh Kerr

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Salomon Rondon
Photo: Getty Images

According to reports from the Daily Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are interested in adding West Bromwich Albion‘s Salomon Rondon to their attacking ranks.

The recently relegated striker will be hoping to stay in the Premier League and Mauricio Pochettino can ensure that happens for the Venezuela international.

Harry Kane has been a revelation once again for the Lilywhites firing 30 league goals this season and was also nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award.

However, Pochettino has still not found a suitable back-up for the Englishman and is already looking for another replacement.

Fernando Llorente was signed from Swansea last season after Vincent Janssen failed to make an impact in north London.

However, the 33-year-old striker could not improve on his 15 goal tally for the Swans that kept them in the top flight a year ago.

The Spanish forward has one goal in 16 Premier League appearances for Spurs and it’s understandable that Pochettino already wants a replacement.

Rondon would not be a signing that should get fans excited by any means.

After all, he does not represent a world-class striker in the slightest and, similarly to Llorente, he has spent the majority of his Premier League career scrapping at the bottom end of the table.

Despite finishing rock bottom in the league this campaign, Rondon was one of those who emerged from the season with some credibility, scoring 10 goals in all competitions for the Baggies.

The Baggies forward is a striker who has often looked isolated and lacking options in a West Brom side that has struggled to get the best out of him.

In a flourishing Spurs team, his Premier League goal tally, of 24, could steadily improve.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Rondon has a relegation release clause in his contract that can see him leave the Midlands side for a reported fee of £16.5 million.

This may be off-putting for Spurs fans as the fee is not cheap considering the Venezuelan’s lack of firepower.

However, at 28, he is five years younger than Llorente and would only cost £2 million more than the fee they paid for the Spaniard, so it’s not the worst transfer when wanting more attacking options.

There’s no doubt that Llorente has struggled at Wembley this season and at 33, Levy may be tempted to move the former Juventus striker on and refresh his forward line.

A club of Spurs’ stature will always be linked with bigger names, but Rondon could still be a smart appointment for the Londoners.

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Tottenham fans react to latest Mousa Dembele contract setback

Josh Kerr

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Mousa Dembele
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Evening Standard, Mousa Dembele’s agent claims the Belgian international will not sign a new contract with Tottenham Hotspur before the summer World Cup.

The 30-year-old is set to enter the final year of his Spurs contract, which expires on June 30 next year, and the club’s supporters are understandably growing impatient.

According to earlier reports by the MirrorMauricio Pochettino is ready to listen to offers for the likes of Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko.

Dembele was one of the names shortlisted and has been a revelation in his six seasons at the club.

However, despite another successful season in north London, the former Fulham midfielder is likely to put an end to his love affair with the Lilywhites.

Dembele’s current deal expires in 12 months and, after starting just 21 of 38 League games, he may be considering other options for the final years of his career.

Spurs fans reacted to his agent’s comments, with the majority urging Pochettino to offload the powerhouse midfielder this summer and find a suitable replacement for the Belgium superstar.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur news round-up: Pochettino signs, De Ligt hope and Wanyama commits

All the big news from Tottenham Hotspur today.

Mathew Coull

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Poch signs on

It has been a busy day at Tottenham Hotspur, starting off with the excellent news about Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine, who has been linked with a number of top jobs in world football, has committed his future to the North London club.

He has signed a deal to remain Spurs boss until 2023, along with his coaching staff.

It is a deal that will undoubtedly please the Tottenham fans, and has the chairman. Daniel Levy said of the deal on the club’s official website:

“Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.”

For many Tottenham fans this is the most important signing of the summer. Losing Pochettino would have been a nightmare scenario for the club and getting him tied down so early in the summer is a massive boost for everyone at the club.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

De Ligt-ful transfer on the cards

Spurs are also in talks over bringing Dutch international defender Matthijs De Ligt to North London. The 18-year-old talent is being lined up as a potential replacement for Toby Alderweireld, who is being targeted by Manchester United.

The London Evening Standard report that Spurs are hopeful their good relationship with Ajax can help them secure a deal. In the past Spurs have signed Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez from the Amsterdam club and believe that may weigh in their favour.

The teenager would be a magnificent recruit for Spurs, so this is one story to keep an eye on.

Spurs are also said to be keeping tabs on Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi of West Brom. ESPN claim Spurs are tracking the player, valued at around £2.5 million.

Wanyama staying

Whilst Alderweireld looks like he is going, one player who isn’t is Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama.

It has been suggested he could be moved on to make funds this summer with replacements being lined up.

But Spurs’ battle-hardened midfielder is not keen on an exit. Speaking to Goal he made it clear he has no desire of leaving Tottenham this summer.

Spurs fans will hope that is the case, despite his indifferent form and fitness this term. Wanyama is still a valuable member of the Tottenham team and they will hopefully manage to keep him at the club.

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