Tottenham Hotspur look increasingly likely to lose Mousa Dembele this summer. The Belgian midfielder has not yet agreed on a new deal at the club and it appears Spurs are ready to cash in on the popular player.
With that in mind, plenty of central midfielders and a slew of money has been discussed in the papers. However, a report from The Sun today certainly appears to be the most likely Tottenham solution to this issue.
The report claims that Tottenham will back young midfielder Harry Winks to take over as the main man in midfield for Spurs. The England international, who is currently recovering from ankle surgery, will be backed by Mauricio Pochettino to take Dembele’s place for Spurs.
The same report then suggests that Tottenham will make a £15 million move for Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Amadou Haidara. The 20-year-old Malian is seen as a top prospect for the future and Spurs are set to make their move.
It certainly seems that this is the most likely Tottenham solution to their midfield area. Daniel Levy will likely remain frugal in the transfer market after the building of their new stadium. Meanwhile, Pochettino is rarely afraid to give young players a chance to thrive in North London.
Spending big is not always a success at Tottenham and, in fact, some of their best success stories in recent years have relied on having faith in the current squad. That has certainly been the case in the Pochettino-era with the likes of Kieran Trippier, Heung-min Son, Ben Davies and even Harry Kane.
Winks could step up and Haidara would take his place waiting in the wings. For all the transfer rumours and conjecture, only a few ever truly seem likely.
This is certainly one of those occasions.
The media obsession with Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha should be ignored
The winger is being heavily linked with a move away from Selhurst Park.
Ask any Crystal Palace fan their least favourite part of the summer, and one answer will stand out: the endless media obsession about the future of Wilfried Zaha.
After further reports in The Times, Mirror, and The Sun linking the Ivory Coast international with a move away from Selhurst Park, Palace supporters should tune out the noise and focus on the facts of the matter.
Zaha is currently under contract at Selhurst Park, having signed a five-year deal just over a year ago. Despite the rumoured interest from the likes of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Borussia Dortmund, Crystal Palace hold all the cards in the situation.
And, to add to their strong position, manager Roy Hodgson has made it very clear he has no intention of selling the winger when speaking to football.london last week:
“What people seem to forget with Wilf is he has got a four-year contract. There is speculation every year around Messi and Ronaldo too. He is our player for the next four years and the club has got no interest or desire to sell him.”
This strong statement from the Palace manager is the only thing that holds significance with regards to the Zaha saga. At the end of the day, there can be as much speculation and interest from clubs as possible, but if the club is not willing to sell then the player will stay put.
Additionally, the reports that Zaha is unsettled at Palace seem like nothing more than sensational claims. This is a player who expressed his love for the fans and the club as recently as April, talking to the Eagles’ official website after a win against Brighton.
“Crystal Palace is my home town and the support we have here is genuine support with families watching with their kids loving us as players so I don’t really see myself anywhere else.”
In all, one must focus on what is relevant in the Wilfried Zaha transfer saga: the actual words of the figures involved.
With Zaha expressing his happiness and Hodgson making it clear no sale is forthcoming, the media obsession over the winger’s Selhurst Park exit appears unfounded.
Three roles that Jack Grealish could play as he edges closer to Tottenham
It’s likely that Grealish will become the club’s first addition of the summer transfer window with fans growing impatient for signings and will be expecting an immediate impact from him.
The 22-year-old is expected to cost the London club between £30 million and £40 million, yet many remain unconvinced at just how much game time he may get at White Hart Lane.
“I do think he has the ability to progress and play at that level. Is he ready right now for the Spurs first team? I would suggest no. I don’t think so, I don’t see him being a regular in that side at this moment in time.”
However, Pochettino may have several thoughts in mind when looking to select where to play his newest squad member…
On the wing
Many automatically think of Grealish as a wide player bombing down the wing and looking to cut inside purely based on memories of his time in the Premier League before the Villans were relegated in 2016.
His pace could be a major threat and bares similarities with the roles of the likes of Erik Lamela and Heung-Min Son when fielded on the flanks, particularly with the former increasingly injury prone and the latter likely to be on international duty with South Korea early on in the season.
A good dribbler, Grealish may be forced to adapt to spend more time on the right, as opposed to his usual place on the left, given the preferences of his team-mates though.
As a central attacking midfielder
Over the past two seasons, Grealish has made the number ten role his own at Villa Park and has got results too. With more goals and assists than in any other position, it’s easy to see why.
With 10 goals and 15 assists in 82 appearances in such a role, Grealish relishes the freedom of the role and can often be caught wandering around exploiting gaps in between opposition midfields and defences.
Given that he will have Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen for competition, it may be harder to force himself into the team in such a role, but he could provide an exciting option for rotation and will certainly be given opportunities.
An alternative to Harry Kane
Perhaps the least likely of the trio, primarily given that his finishing is not one of his strongest points, Grealish could provide an option as a centre forward at White Hart Lane.
Back-up for Kane has been hard to come by and Grealish’s pace and movement would provide a very different option to Fernando Llorente, which could appeal as a makeshift solution to the coach.
Pochettino is an expert when it comes to getting the most out of players and if he feels he could adapt the midfielder into a more advanced role, no-one else will have a better crack at it than he might.
Who is Tashan Oakley-Boothe, the 18-year-old who scored in Tottenham’s latest friendly?
The 18-year-old is highly-rated at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham Hotspur demolished League One side Southend United in a friendly this week, and along with goals from Erik Lamela, Fernando Llorente, and Lucas Moura, one goalscorer stood out.
Tashan Oakley-Boothe, an 18-year-old English phenom, bagged in the 6-0 victory, an encouraging sign for the future of the central midfielder.
The future is undoubtedly bright for the midfielder, who has drawn praise as a successor to Harry Winks.
Oakley-Boothe has enjoyed great success with the England youth teams, contributing as an integral member of the side that won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017.
And, at Spurs, he has featured for the Under-18 and Under-23 teams, while also drawing the attention of Mauricio Pochettino in the first team mix.
In the early stages of the 2017/18 season, Oakley-Boothe was named to the bench for a Premier League clash against Burnely, a Champions League match against APOEL Nicosia, and even played a couple of minutes as a substitute in the EFL Cup against Barnsley.
To even be involved in the first team at that age is a measure of the youngster’s talents, and this preseason the 18-year-old could truly make a name for himself and push for more minutes.
Scoring a goal while playing as a central midfielder is a great way to catch the eye of Pochettino, and with the Argentine’s knack for developing academy products, Oakley-Boothe could be in store for a breakout season.
Hopefully the 18-year-old can nail down a place in the squad that travels to the United States for the International Champions Cup, where Tashan Oakley-Boothe could show his talents against Europe’s biggest clubs.