Tottenham: £40m spent on three new faces; move for Manchester United midfielder was blocked
It was almost like Harry Redknapp was back at the club.
After one of the quietest transfer windows from any Premier League club, Tottenham Hotspur jumped into life on transfer deadline day, with Mauricio Pochettino adding three new players to his squad on August 31st, one more than he had acquired over the previous two months.
Moussa Sissoko, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou and Paul Lopez joined up with the squad, joining Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen as Spurs’ summer recruits.
The signing of N’Koudou was a long time coming. The 21-year-old Frenchman had agreed personal terms with Spurs, a fee had been agreed with Marseille, and he was even in London to complete the move, way back in mid-July.
The drawn out nature of the transfer was as a result of hierarchical upheaval at the Stade Velodrome, which left a new president and prospective new owners mulling over a change in the deal for the talented winger.
As it was, Sours managed to push the transfer over the line for an undisclosed fee, which is thought to be around £10 or £11 million.
N’Koudou was identified a long time ago as the ideal player for Tottenham in the window, as he can add something very different to the Spurs attack. Although a very raw talent at 21, with plenty of work to do on his physicality and close control, N’Koudou is lightning quick, and has made remarkable strides to reach the level he is at currently. His hard work and willingness to improve was a big plus for Mauricio Pochettino.
The key factor that makes him an excellent deal for Spurs is his pace. In Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli, Spurs have plenty of talent but little pace to get in behind defenders and cause them problems from runs into the box. It gives the North London side an extra dimension, which they desperately need if they are going to win a maiden Premier League title.
If N’Koudou’s transfer was long and protracted, then the deal for Moussa Sissoko could not have been more the opposite.
Although linked with Spurs earlier in the summer, a £30 million price tag for a player who had managed just one measly goal in the previous season for Newcastle seemed ridiculous, even after his fabulous display for France in the Euro 2016 final.
However, Pochettino decided that Sissoko was a player he needs in his squad, and went for the deal, gazumping Everton who were probably only a couple of hours from completing the signing themselves.
Sissoko, just like Georginio Wijnaldum, was accused by Newcastle fans of not trying last season as the club slumped towards relegation, but if Mauricio Pochettino can instill a fighting spirit in the Frenchman, he will prove to be an excellent acquisition. If he plays as well in every game as he did for France at the Euros, he will propel Tottenham forward, driving at defenders and causing mayhem in attack.
It is a risk, especially at £30 million, but Sissoko could be a brilliant signing.
The third deal Spurs completed was for Pau Lopez, the 21-year-old Espanyol goalkeeper, who joined on an initial loan deal.
Lopez made his Espanyol debut under Pochettino, and is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers aged 21 and under in Europe, with real experience for Espanyol.
There were suggestions that he was being signed merely as a third choice stopper, but there is so much more to the deal than that. With Hugo Lloris out injured, Lopez will provide genuine competition to Michel Vorm, who is currently playing very well in goal. But most importantly, when his loan move becomes permanent, as it should next summer, he will be lining up as the long term successor to Lloris. This is a very good future move for Spurs.
Spurs did miss out on one target, though, as Jose Mourinho blocked a move for the North London club to take Morgan Schneiderlin away from Old Trafford.
Schneiderlin excelled at St. Mary’s before a £30 million transfer to Manchester United, mainly because of a brilliant partnership with Victor Wanyama, which was probably the best in the division at times. Last season, Schneiderlin struggled to establish himself at United without the Kenyan, whilst Wanyama grew increasingly erratic and earnt 3 red cards on the South Coast.
The prospect of them playing together again in midfield would be a tantalising one for their former manager Pochettino, but he will have to wait until January at the earliest to make a move for the Frenchman again.
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