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A Spurs Summer: Contracts, Sagas and Signings

The Boot Room

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For a certain set of fans this summer there has been a saga going on which has scared them to the very core of their loyalty. If this couldn’t be done, where would the club be going? How would there ever be progress, to make that next all important step. There have been new signings completed, contract extensions for promising players, fans favourites and key players but if this deal went south, went wrong then the summer and the future would be ruined.

In the afternoon, Harry Winks signed a new long term contract at Tottenham, so, overall a good Monday, brightening a dull day at work. This though was the just the starter, the appetizer. For in the evening, Spurs fans could see Nabil Bentaleb seated alongside Mauricio Pochettino, pen in hand, contract on the table. A load lifted, the incoming dark clouds of inevitable set backs of past dispersed with a brisk forceful brush of an arm.

A cause for celebration: Nabil Bentaleb’s meteoric rise becoming a key first team player looks set to be reaffirmed as he enters next season on the back of a new contract.

The Algerian is perhaps, Harry Kane aside, the fans favorite, his passion unsurpassable, from his first game and continued through every minute of ecstacy, relief, rejoice and pain he has learned to love the club, its fans and its project.

Some still see him synonymous with the small Tim Sherwood regime which was full of tactical naivety, cliches and unprofessionalism yet the 20 year old is by far the best thing to come out of the turbulent year. When at White Hart Lane there is a clear divide between those players who receive unrelenting support and those who cannot afford to misplace a pass. Bentaleb sits firmly in the former camp. The reason being he hardly does anything wrong. He is the first to get stuck, he keeps the tempo up when attacking, looking to win the ball and start an attack quickly. When he falls to his knees or pumps his fists in the air when the team scores his place in the lilywhite hearts gets a little deeper.

In the season past and his Tottenham career he has been through ups and downs already but he is young and will continue to learn and to improve. His place in the team is unquestionable, he is touted as a future club captain, his maturity is beyond his age, the responsibility he takes in a team lacking in leaders is commendable and needed for a team looking to make the step up. He may not score a load of goals and he may not sit like Makelele but he goes about his play in a mature intelligent matter which would be highly praised if he were English or even Spanish but he is unfashionable and it may work in his favour.

He needs a real defensive midfielder alongside him so he can flourish, but the Algerian is so tactical astute he can even play well at left back. The contract renewals of Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Ryan Mason and Danny Rose have all given North Londoners hope that the future is bright, youthful, hopeful and united. Of course Gareth Bale and Luka Modric all signed new contracts before they left but Levy new what he was doing and this time the club has a manager the players love, who has a plan, a vision and a style which players love and the team are united and the fans need to be united behind them. The signing of this contract unites fans in belief they can keep their best players and challenge for what seems an increasingly impossible haven of playing European football on a Tuesday and Wednesday night under the lights of the Lane.

 

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Aston Villa

Keeping Henri Lansbury could be blessing in disguise for Aston Villa

Aston Villa cannot find a buyer for the midfield maestro.

Mathew Nash

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Aston Villa’s financial troubles this summer seem to have them ready to sell some of their high-earners and more valuable assets.

The Mirror report today that midfielders Mile Jedinak and Birkir Bjarnason could be out the door this summer, with Jack Grealish currently in talks with Tottenham Hotspur.

However, the same report suggests Henri Lansbury will be sticking around.

However, it does not seem that Aston Villa want to keep him.

The report claims they will only be keeping the £2.7 million midfielder because nobody is willing to pay up to sign the player or take on his £40k-a-week wages.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It is certainly no surprise to hear that Aston Villa want to offload Lansbury. He struggled to play a part in Steve Bruce’s plans after joining from Nottingham Forest.

Last season he played just 10 times for the club and has struggled since arriving at Villa Park.

But fans of Aston Villa must remember just how impressive a player Lansbury has been in the Championship.

In the 2015-16 season, there was a case to say that the then-Forest midfielder was the best in the division. In fact, many neutrals would have suggested that Lansbury was the Championship’s best midfielder just two years ago.

It could be that keeping Lansbury will be a blessing in disguise for Aston Villa. If he can find his Forest form, then he will be like a new signing for the club.

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Aston Villa

As Tottenham close in on Jack Grealish, Daniel Levy’s hard bargaining should be applauded

The Villa youngster could be set for a late move to Spurs.

Max Cohen

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Jack Grealish
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are closing in on signing Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish ahead of their summer tour of the United States.

The signing has been left late in the window, much to the annoyance of Spurs fans, but Daniel Levy’s hard bargaining should be applauded as Tottenham seem set to buy Grealish for far less than Villa originally asked for.

The Mirror claimed that the Championship club initially were holding out for £40 million, but now they are willing to sell for around half of that amount.

If Spurs were to pinch the creative mastermind from Villa Park for around £20 million that would represent superb business, considering the inflated transfer market for young British talents.

Although the Levy’s style is immensely frustrating at times, there can be no arguing that a bargain of this magnitude is well worth waiting for.

If Tottenham had done their business too early on in the window, they could have been left paying far too much for the former English U-21 international.

But as the summer months progressed, news of Aston Villa’s financial woes increased. Given the new information, Spurs were put in a much stronger position as they knew Villa would be desperate to sell in order to offload Grealish’s high wages and rein in a transfer fee.

The north Londoners look primed to welcome one of the Championship’s finest midfield technicians to White Hart Lane, and at only 22 years of age, Grealish has time on his side to develop into a world class player.

Daniel Levy’s tough negotiating style is not ideal for most circumstances and rightfully draws the ire of the Tottenham faithful. Yet his bargaining nous has come in handy during the Jack Grealish saga, granting Spurs a much-improved deal.

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Aston Villa

Forgotten man Ritchie De Laet could play important role for Aston Villa

Aston Villa may have to give a second chance to the 29-year-old.

Mathew Nash

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When Aston Villa snapped up Premier League winner Ritchie De Laet from Leicester City in the summer of 2016 it looked a great deal. He arrived after a season in which he won both the Premier League with Leicester City and promotion with Middlesbrough whilst on loan.

Considering he had also won promotion with Leicester in 2014, he looked a perfect addition for Aston Villa at just £2.5 million.

However, De Laet struggled. He played just three times in his first season at the club before picking up a knee injury against Brentford. He was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the campaign.

Last season he featured sporadically through the first-half of the season but in January was sent out on loan to his boyhood club Royal Antwerp until the end of the season.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

That deal proved to be unsuccessful as well. The Belgian side decided not to bring in De Laet permanently after a struggle of a loan campaign which eventually saw him dropped.

But Aston Villa should embrace the fact the 29-year-old is back. Considering they need to sell highly-marketable players this summer, keeping De Laet on board would be wise.

He can play at left-back, right-back and on the wing. Add to that his excellent experience of winning promotion and Aston Villa need to keep him on board.                                                                                                                    

De Laet could be like a new signing for Aston Villa.

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