What will Spurs' best XI be now the transfer window is closed?
With the late, late addition of Moussa Sissoko for £30 million from Newcastle United, combined with the earlier arrivals of Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama, Mauricio Pochettino will have a variety of new selection issues once his entire squad is fully fit. The Tottenham squad has been boosted in terms of quality and depth, and much of the financial cost has been paid for by the sale of fringe players.
However, with such an impressive season last time out, it’s actually difficult to see any of the new signings jumping straight into the strongest starting XI on paper. The window has been all about adding depth to the squad, so that injuries and suspensions don’t severely affect the ability of the team to secure results.
With the only addition to the back five being a new goalkeeper, Pau Lopez from Espanyol, the goalkeeper and defence remains unchanged. Club captain Hugo Lloris is one of the finest goalkeepers to ever play for Spurs, and his performances with France in the Euros reinforced his place as one of Europe’s top goalkeepers.
The established partnership of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld looked almost impassable at times last season, although Vertonghen may see his place threatened by Kevin Wimmer, or the emergence of youngster Cameron Carter-Vickers. Alderweireld is probably the best centre half in the league, so his place in the starting XI is guaranteed.
In the full-back positions, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose give vital width to Spurs that they sorely lack from attacking positions as Pochettino favours inverted wingers. Walker’s explosive pace is a great way to deal with counter-attacking football, while Rose’s brutish defensive instincts combined with a knack for being in the right place at the right time going forwards make him a formidable opponent on Spurs’ left flank.
In this regard, they are far ahead of Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier. Davies is a decent defensive left-back, who also played more centrally for Wales at the Euros, and one who is capable of playing at Premier League standard, whereas Kieran Trippier simply isn’t good enough for a Champions League club. If Walker is missing for a big game, Trippier could be a huge liability. Rose and Walker get the nod here, when both are available.
The two defensive midfield spots could include one of the summer signings in Victor Wanyama. However, given how impressive the pairing of Moussa Dembélé and Eric Dier was last season, the two retain their place in the strongest XI on paper. Dembélé is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Europe, with fantastic ball retention and monstrous strength, while Eric Dier is the destroyer, breaking up attacks with apparant ease, while also slotting into fullback positions when Rose or Walker bombs forward.
This is not to say that Wanyama is not a good signing; he’s impressed so far this season and will be a good alternative for when either of the first choice duo are unavailable or not match-fit.
The attacking four will probably remain unchanged. The purchases of Moussa Cissoko and Vincent Janssen will provide competition for these places, but Christian Eriksen’s creativity is an invaluable asset to the side when the Danish playmaker is on song. His incisive passing will be key in unlocking stubborn defences this season.
Dele Alli’s heatmaps suggest that actually he plays almost as a second striker in support of Kane – a role that few others could accomplish. His tenacious energy, immense technical ability and passion give Spurs’ attack a real edge, and Alli is capable of pieces of flair to astonish the Spurs faithful.
Erik Lamela‘s energy and pressing are a huge part of the way that Pochettino sets up his side, so he also features in the best possible starting XI. The Argentine; who has endeavoured himself to Spurs fans by working incredibly hard, will certainly be looking to add goals to his game this season, and truly is a player in Pochettino’s mould.
Of course, it would be impossible to leave out Harry Kane after he won the Golden Boot last season. The striker is one of the best in the league, has a clinical eye for goal and provides a focal point for the attack. Kane has turned out to be a truly world class forward, and will only improve with the experience of the Champions League this year.
Janssen in particular is a very competent replacement for Kane if he needs a rest – his physicality and energy already look to give Spurs something different up front. It even allows for Spurs to play a two striker formation, or for Kane to play as the number 10 to open up more space for him.
Sissoko is a more interesting signing; realistically the Frenchman could replace any midfield player, using his brutish strength to good effect anywhere on the pitch. If anyone can get the best out of the enigmatic midfielder, it’s Mauricio Pochettino. Both Janssen and Cissoko give good options off the bench.
So, the best possible Spurs XI looks like this:
Featured image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne