Football Features

Ryan Sessegnon: The archetypal Pochettino signing that could usher in Spurs’ new era

By CJ Smith

How we think the Ryan Sessegnon to Spurs transfer would pan out

Published: 10:53, 5 May 2019

Ryan Sessegnon has his heart set on a move to Tottenham this summer, according to reports.

The England U21 international has been on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Manchester United and PSG, over the last couple of years. This attention comes mostly thanks to a breakthrough 2017/18 campaign which saw him notch 15 Championship goals as Fulham won promotion to the Premier League.

Despite Sessegnon having had a quiet first season in England’s top flight – largely thanks to the Cottagers’ struggles – that interest has not quelled.

However, of all the clubs supposedly lining up a summer bid, the Daily Mail say it is Spurs that top Sessegnon’s list of destinations, with the player reportedly keen to remain in London beyond this season.

Sessegnon, who can play on left-wing or at left-back, would represent Spurs’ first signing since Lucas Moura in the 2018 January window and add some much-needed depth to Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

The likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen are undoubtedly world-class talents and have had a huge hand in helping Pochettino elevate the club to Champions League regulars, even contenders.

However, the elite clubs remain so through squad depth. By strengthing in positions before they become an issue. That’s one of the key differences between Manchester City and Manchester United right now.

Spurs have coped extremely well without Harry Kane at times this season, but the 0-1 home defeat to Ajax suggested losing Heung-min Son, too, was an injury too far.

Despite his struggles this season, Sessegnon has still managed to provide six assists for Fulham, who are languishing in 19th having already sealed relegation back to the Championship, while his ball-carrying ability would add a new dimension to the Spurs bench or starting XI.

“Now it’s about creating another chapter and to have the clear idea of how we are going to build that new project. We need to rebuild. It’s going to be painful.”

Maurcio Pochettino on rebuilding his squad this summer.

Sessegnon has completed 30 dribbles in the Premier League so far this season, the third-highest of any Fulham player, while he has also created the third-highest number of chances (32). The fact that the teenager has managed this while contending with constant positional and tactical switches is all the more impressive.

So far this term, Sessegnon has started in no fewer than nine different positions for the Cottagers, while he has also made a further nine appearances from the bench.

He ranks sixth at the club in terms of recoveries (131) and although his versatility may have been a slight cause of his undoing this season, it would represent a very valuable acquisition Pochettino.

“He is an incredible player project, with a fantastic physical capacity. People compare him to Bale, for me, it’s a mix between Marcelo and Bale.”

Ex-Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic on Sessegnon.

Rose isn’t the force he was a couple of years ago but still tends to start ahead of the unfavoured Ben Davies. Sessegnon would be a very viable option here. And, as mentioned, should the likes of Son, Eriksen or even Lucas Moura be unavailable, Sessegnon’s greatest exploits in his short career so far have from the wings.

For the player himself, the chance to learn of a totally new calibre of player is one that simply cannot be turned down. His ferocious talent is obvious and should Sessegnon make a success of himself, he can be confident of an England call-up form Gareth Southgate, regardless of his age. After all, Sessegnon has had to sit back and watch as teenagers Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi explode onto the scene and force themselves into Three Lions reckoning.

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Sessegnon’s contract may be due to expire next year, but Fulham are still expected to command a fee of around £35m for their most valuable asset. That’s a lot of money for what is: an, as such, relatively unproven youngster. However, Spurs must thicken out their squad. Who comes in when Son is suspended, or when Kane is ruled out for the rest of the season? The answer to that question has been painfully clear in recent weeks.

And that process cannot be done with veterans or mercurial talents pushing toward the wrong end of their 20s. It must be done with long-term targets that have high ceilings and massive scope for development. Given that he only turns 19 next month, Sessegnon has a huge amount of time on his side.

Given his record at developing players such as Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks, Sessegnon could be the archetypal Pochettino signing and the true start of the ‘Tottenham Hotspur Stadium era’.