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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham not in talks with Amadou Diawara, good news for Harry Winks

The England international will be searching for a return to fitness and regular football next season.

Mathew Nash

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This week has seen Tottenham Hotspur linked with a move for Amadou Diawara. The Napoli midfielder, 20, has been in fine form this season and has attracted the attention of Spurs with his impressive form. Sport Mediaset reported this weekend that Tottenham could even be willing to pay his whopping £52.4 million release clause.

That no longer looks to be the case. Diawara may be a player Tottenham would be lucky to have, but his agent has belittled the rumours. Daniele Piraino unleashed an impassioned tirade against the stories on RAI Sport, insisting no release clause existed and Diawara was not leaving.

during UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between Napoli and RB Leipzig at the Stadio San Paolo on February 15, 2018 in Naples, Italy.

Whilst some Tottenham fans will be disappointed to hear those developments, one man at Spurs who won’t be is Harry Winks.

The 22-year-old had an excellent 2017. After establishing himself as a regular member of the Tottenham squad he also earned his first England cap in October.

This season has however been tough on the player. Winks has been suffering with a persistent ankle injury since last April. Most recently it saw him pull out of the England under-21 squad. This season has therefore been stop-start for the player and he will be hoping to get a good pre-season under his belt and push for regular football again with Spurs next season.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The presence of Diawara would have been a massive stumbling block to his progression. The Guinea midfielder would have represented a massive investment that Mauricio Pochettino would have had to give a chance in the starting XI.

For Winks, the next few months are crucial. He must prove his fitness and finally get over this nagging injury trouble. After that he can start to show what got him into the Tottenham team in the first place.

Having a player of Diawara’s class and price-tag in his way would have certainly made Winks’ job much more difficult.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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
Photo: Getty Images

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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