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Why this playmaker should be a symbol for change at Spurs

The Boot Room

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There’s something about Tottenham Hotspur FC, that lends itself to an almost Shakespearean-like comedy in football. Make no mistake, Spurs are one of the biggest clubs in England, and have had some of the finest players these shores have seen; Greaves, Lineker, Hoddle, Gascoigne, and a certain Welshman plying his trade in Spain right now, have all had spells in the Lilywhite of North London.

But for every Greaves, there’s a Postiga. For every Lineker, there’s a Rasiak. Hoddle? Taarabt. And for the real painful stake in a Tottenham heart that for every Gareth Bale, there’s a Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado and (for the money spent on him) an Erik Lamela.

A club that every year is expected to do well, yet somehow completely loses the plot. Things could be going so well, but before long whether the owner gets an itchy trigger finger, the boss gets linked with England or the lasagne isn’t quite cooked enough, the club implodes. It’s like a metaphorical balloon with a sleeping hedgehog inside it. You don’t know when, but you know it will and you know it’ll be downright disastrous. It’s so… Spursy.

But for all the mud thrown at Tottenham for somehow managing to treat the £85m that Real Madrid spent on Bale like the guy who’s can’t hold it any longer on a night out and happens to meet a random wall, the fact that the club are deemed to have completely frittered that money away is wrong. There is one who has excelled.

This season, pundits have been properly jumping into the Harry Kane brigade; he’s come from nowhere, he’s been scoring goals for fun, he’s English and seems like the sort of guy who if he wasn’t a footballer, he’d be Harry the plumber, drinking a cold beer in your local by the pool table after a hard week at work; he’s a fan’s dream, the proverbial ‘one of us’.

But rather less has been made about the “Harry Kane support acts”. A fair few plaudits have gone to Hugo Lloris, who quite rightly has been hailed as one of the finest goalkeepers in European football, but yet not nearly half as much credit given to Harry Kane by pundits is given to the best Tottenham outfield player, Christian Eriksen.

There’s something that makes players like Eriksen so much more magical when you watch them with your own eyes and thoughts rather than through a ball-following camera with someone speaking those thoughts for you. When you’re in amongst a noisy crowd, players like him help to truly immerse you in those moments.

In amongst the fast-paced hustle and bustle of a Premier League match, it’s the likes of David Silva and Mesut Özil who are just a delight to watch, and the Spurs man is of the same ilk. I may not be a Tottenham fan myself, but seeing this ghost-figure glide past brutish defenders like he’s floating on air is a real joy, the closest the defenders get being the flash of “23” go past them.

The former Ajax man also is impressive on the stats tables too; ten league goals from midfield is a very reasonable return, whilst also making two of them too. It may seem a low number, but often it’s his contribution that starts the move off, not the final piece. When he gets them right, his free kicks are sights to behold, too.

You can see that despite coming from the rather less exotic Denmark he’s a very talented player and had a fine education in Amsterdam at Ajax. He carries himself confidently on the pitch, and the perception he is the new Michael Laudrup are worthy, not exaggerated.

He comes across the same way in post-match interviews too, answering questions as intelligently and thoughtful as he plays, never in clichés. He’s had to do plenty to Sky this season, and often he’s given the Man of the Match champagne at the end of them.

It’s just a shame that he doesn’t seem to be recognised by fans, he’s never named in anybody’s best team. His nationality plays against him; fans expect that from Silva, with all his Spanish flair, and Özil’s place in a Germany side who have changed perceptions and his time in the exotic climes of the Bernabeu. Even Phillippe Coutinho gets more credit than Eriksen, yet has been nowhere near as consistently brilliant as the Dane this season.

But it’s always been like that since he arrived at Tottenham after outgrowing the Eredivisie. In amongst the bigger purchases of that summer they lost Bale, it was Eriksen who has represented the best value for money, only arriving for £12m.

Perhaps Tottenham are beginning to learn from him. Resisting calls from the fans to break the bank for Louis Van Gaal or Carlo Ancelotti, Daniel Levy appointed Mauricio Pochettino, who earned rave reviews at Southampton, and he has made sure that Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb aren’t lost behind flashy purchases.

Tottenham are ridiculed because they want instant success. They’re laughed at because of their incessant need to be recognised. By buying sensibly like Eriksen for a decent fee, plus the smaller purchases like the highly rated Kevin Wimmer, steps in the right direction will be made. But then again this is Tottenham, and it could all coming crashing down again. It’s all so… Spursy.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

West Ham United

Marlon Santos joining West Ham would be ideal solution to defensive woes

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Photo: Getty Images.

There will be a summer of change at West Ham United this summer and with James Collins leaving the club there will be a spot opening up in defence. Reports from Spain indicate that the man to fill it could be Barcelona youngster Marlon Santos.

The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants permanently last summer after impressing for their B team and earning a first team debut in 2016/17 and spent pre-season with Ernesto Valverde’s first team before being sent out on loan.

Now, reliable Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say that West Ham are interested in taking the defender on loan next season after he has impressed in France, playing for OGC Nice, making 27 appearances during his loan spell.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has also been linked with Leicester but with West Ham believed to be leading the chase, it would be a wise move from Manuel Pellegrini to seal a deal as soon as possible.

Strong in the tackle, Santos would also bring some much needed pace to the West Ham defence. Replacing the likes of Collins and Jose Fonte who departed in January, the arrival of a fleet-footed defender would be a welcome turnaround at the London Stadium.

It may also suggest a change in style, with the former Fluminense youth product known for his ability on the ball, often looking to dribble out from the back to get his team transitioning from defence to attack.

Pellegrini is clearly putting the building blocks in place to build a side in his own image, and bringing in Marlon Santos would be a cheap and sensible addition to fix a major problem area.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Malcom would add another dimension to Tottenham’s attack

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Photo: Getty Images.

After an impressive 2017/18 campaign, Tottenham are already beginning to plan for 2018/19 and are keen to make a statement in their first season in a new look White Hart Lane. One way they may do so is with the addition of Girondins Bordeaux forward Malcom.

Sky Bet currently list Tottenham at 7/2 to sign the Brazilian, just behind favourites Manchester United in the running at 3/1, and such an acquisition would bring an exciting new element to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking set-up.

Predominantly playing on the right wing, Malcom may offer more width than many of the options within the Tottenham squad, but much like Heung-Min Son and Erik Lamela, he likes to dribble on the ball and cut inside, offering a direct threat rather than looking to cross into others.

The 21-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 Ligue Un games for Bordeaux this season and whilst not exactly prolific, would help to add goals to the Lilywhites’ midfield and reduce the reliance on Harry Kane.

(Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He also has some similarities to the likes of Christian Eriksen as a superb set piece taker who likes to shoot from distance, helping to add another dimension as Tottenham look to break down more defensive sides who sit deep in hope of frustrating them.

With huge potential to develop even further, Malcom may not come cheaply but would represent an interesting project for Pochettino to get even more out of him. Whilst he bares many similarities to Erik Lamela when he arrived in north London, if he can avoid injury he could go on to become the player Spurs had hoped to see Lamela become.

His pace and threat would add a much needed option into the Spurs attack, complimenting the playmakers like Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura and supporting the goalgetter Harry Kane. Strength in depth is key in Tottenham’s quest for silverware and Malcom would be a step in the right direction to achieving it.

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Newcastle United

Fulham promotion opens up £15m exit for Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Newcastle United star is likely to move away from the club this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Fulham won promotion to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. The Cottagers scored in the first-half through Tom Cairney to rightfully take their place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was a tremendous performance and in the summer Fulham will be looking to bring in some new faces to help them stay in the top-flight. One of those faces, will not be necessarily new. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been brilliant for Fulham since joining on loan in January.

The Serbian striker has scored 12 goals since his arrival at Craven Cottage and will no doubt be wanted permanently at the club.

Is this good news for Newcastle United?

There has been plenty of talk regarding the Serbian’s exit from St James’ Park in the winter. Many fans on Tyneside are wondering whether the club should have kept him at Newcastle, considering his goal record in London.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

However, it is clear that Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the player and the Spaniard certainly made things work without him.

The best thing for Newcastle right now is to sell him and ensure they bring in enough money to cover the cost of his original signing.

Fulham represent their best option to do so. Newcastle want about £15 million for the player, according to the London Evening Standard, which is the fee they paid for the Serbian in 2015.

Fulham will no doubt want to bring him to the club this summer, but would not have been able to bring him to the club had they failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The Cottagers can now afford the player and Mitrovic’s price-tag is unlikely to be a problem with the bonus they will receive for heading into the top-flight. Newcastle must be pleased that Fulham earned promotion, as it will allow them the best opportunity to move Mitrovic on without a major loss.

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