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Tottenham Hotspur

Three players Tottenham Hotspur must target this summer

Ruari Macneil

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Tottenham
Photo: Getty Images

As the season draws to a close, thoughts begin to turn to the summer transfer window and the chance to address the imbalances that began to arise in the squad over the course of the season past.

Mauricio Pochettino‘s Tottenham Hotspur threw away their last chance of silverware in the FA Cup semi-final as they passed up their early lead, losing 2-1 to Jose Mourinho’s pragmatic Manchester United side earlier this month.

The quest for a title goes on for Spurs, who have now been without a trophy for a decade, the last one coming in the form of the 2007-2008 League Cup.

Until they get over the line and win something as a squad, it will be hard to view them as anything more than a continually developing club, as opposed to outright contenders on all fronts, despite playing some of the best football in the country on occasion.

With the summer window rapidly approaching, here are three players Tottenham should most definitely be considering for the 2018/2019 season.

Memphis Depay

Former Manchester United star Memphis Depay failed to reach the heights expected of him at Old Trafford, leaving after just 18 months to join Ligue 1 club Lyon. Dubbed by many to become one of the greatest players in Europe, at 24 Depay still has the majority of his career ahead of him, and the Dutchman has been working hard in France to ensure he still has a chance of achieving what was expected of him a few years ago.

Depay is as strong as they come and has a clear eye for goal, with highly impressive scoring records for both Lyon and his country. The winger has bagged nine goals for the Netherlands in 36 caps, and has scored 20 goals in 49 league appearances for Lyon.

Manchester United will be closely monitoring his progress with an eye to potentially bringing him back to Old Trafford in the future. However, Spurs should pounce and offer the 24-year-old a second chance to be a Premier League star and silence his critics.

Layvin Kurzawa

Another Ligue 1 star, France international Layvin Kurzawa would be a great addition to the Spurs squad at left-back. With Danny Rose’s future in the balance, Tottenham’s chase for a potential replacement has been well documented, and the PSG star would provide a more than credible option for Mauricio Pochettino.

Having signed Serge Aurier last summer, Spurs could look to continue their recent tradition of signing Ligue 1 stars and, as Kurzawa has proved over the last three seasons in Paris, he is one of Europe’s hottest prospects in his position.

The 25-year-old’s experience in Europe will increase his desirability to Spurs, with the North London club now regulars in Europe’s elite competition. Should Rose leave, which is plausible, a move for Kurzawa should be considered by Pochettino and chairman Daniel Levy.

Jonathan Tah

Bayer Leverkusen centre-half Jonathan Tah is one of Europe’s brightest defensive prospects, and has gone about making his mark on the German national team in recent years. Aged only 22, Tah has already amassed 140 senior appearances for Leverkusen, Hamburg and Fortuna Dusseldorf, and they do not come more experienced at his age.

It remains to be seen whether Toby Alderweireld will be a Tottenham player next season and, should the Belgian star leave, a huge gulf will be left to fill in the heart of defence. With Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez as the other senior central defensive options, Tah would be a great addition for Spurs to bolster Pochettino’s options.

Tah is currently contracted with Leverkusen until 2023, and would likely cost Spurs a fair amount of money. However, if the North London club have genuine hopes of become one of Europe’s elite sides, spending big money on young stars is simply something the club will have to accept.

 

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

Crystal Palace

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.

Max Cohen

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Wilfried Zaha
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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.”

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion at Selhurst Park on May 13, 2018 in London, England.

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.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Three roles that Jack Grealish could play as he edges closer to Tottenham

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Photo: Getty Images.

As Sky Sports say that a deal is close between Tottenham and Aston Villa, Mauricio Pochettino will already be planning where young starlet Jack Grealish could fit into his squad.

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.”

Ally McCoist made his feelings clear.

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.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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.

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Tottenham Hotspur

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.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

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.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

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.

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