Should Tottenham let Nabil Bentaleb leave for £10 million?
Tottenham Hotspur are reported to have rejected a £10 million bid for Nabil Bentaleb from German side Schalke. The Ruhr based outfit have, according to The Mirror, failed to reach the North London side’s £15 million valuation of the 21-year-old.
The French born Algerian international has 19 caps under his belt, and made his Premier League debut for Spurs under Tim Sherwood in the 2013/14 season, after spending a year in the academy system with the Lilywhites. In total Bentaleb has made 66 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham, but with just 12 of these coming last season.
Should Spurs let the Frenchman go?
The rise of Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier in the defensive midfield positions at White Hart Lane have rather limited Bentaleb’s minutes on the pitch. The summer purchase of Victor Wanyama, for £11 million, from Mauricio Pochettino’s former side Southampton has compounded the competition for places in midfield and makes the likelihood of a Bentaleb departure increase.
There has always been perpetual rumours regarding Bentaleb’s attitude, and some feel the time is right for him to go. Pochettino even publicly said that Bentaleb was not part of his plans at Spurs – a very uncharacteristic statement from the Argentinian. Indeed, it looks as if these words were not an empty threat, as Bentaleb is now training with the U21s at Spurs’ Enfield base.
So, it’s all rather straightforward, Spurs should pocket whatever money they can for the man from Lille and move on with their lives. Well no, actually it’s not that simple.
Here’s why Spurs shouldn’t sell Bentaleb:
Lest it not be forgotten that Bentaleb positively excelled and was one of Pochettino’s original golden boys in the 2014/15 season, with his energetic style winning over many plaudits. Nabil played 35 times in all competitions that season, and was a vital part of the midfield, often playing with Ryan Mason in the so-called ‘pivot’, and helped Spurs finish 5th and qualify automatically for the group stages of the Europa League, as well as reach a League Cup final, losing to Chelsea 2-0.
Previously Bentaleb has been linked with Inter Milan and with fellow Italian side Juventus looking for midfielders to fill a Paul Pogba shaped hole, selling Bentaleb for £10 or even £15 million may not be the best piece of business ever conducted by Daniel Levy.
A final point on why it may be politic and the sensible thing to do, to keep hold of the midfielder is his Spurs upbringing. Admittedly Bentaleb was only a member of the Tottenham academy for a year, joining from Dunkerque in 2012, but the message that his departure would send to other academy players wanting to break into the first team is definitely one to consider.
Would he be a good signing for Schalke?
In short, yes absolutely. Schalke are currently desperate for midfielders after selling Leroy Sane to Manchester City for £37 million and also missing out on the re-loan signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who now finds himself on the south coast of England at Claude Puel’s Southampton. At such a good age, with Premier League experience, Bentaleb would be a great signing for Die Königsblauen (The Royal Blues) – and with the Sane money in the bank, Levy could use his infamous bargaining power to milk Schalke’s transfer kitty.
In summary, should Spurs let this 21 year old go for £10 million?
No – not for £10 million at least.
In the current transfer market Spurs should be looking for more than that, all things (age, experience, 2014/15 performances) considered. Unfortunately for Bentaleb, his time at Spurs appears to be over, but there is no reason why all parties should not be able to leave happy. Bentaleb should look for guaranteed first team football, be it a Schalke’s Veltins-Arena or elsewhere, and Spurs should look for £18 million plus for a young energetic and Premier League proven midfielder.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Newcastle United
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