Football News

Spurs missed out on the “game-changer” who could have helped close gap on Man City – Jermaine Jenas

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 17:33, 9 August 2019

Paulo Dybala could have been the difference in this year’s title race for Tottenham, according to Jermaine Jenas.

Spurs made a late push for Dybala at the end of the transfer window but the deal fell through due to complications reportedly related to image rights.

Was Spurs’ 2019 summer transfer window a success? Five things to know…

  • Spurs broke their transfer record with the signing of Tanguy Ndombele (£54m).
  • They also signed Ryan Sessegnon, Jack Clarke and Giovani Lo Celso.
  • Spurs managed to keep hold of Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen (for the time being).
  • Their only major outgoing was Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid.
  • They were reportedly after Dybala and Phillipe Coutinho at the end of the window.

Jenas told BBC Sport: “Spurs were within two points of City at Christmas last season then fell away, which was down to a lack of depth in the squad.

“They have had a go at addressing that problem with the signings they have made, and they do look stronger – but they did not get Paulo Dybala, who would have been a game-changer.”

The Argentinian forward scored 22 league goals in 33 appearances during his first season at Juventus but the arrival of Ronaldo saw his form dip; he managed just five last campaign. However, at just 25 years old, Dybala is widely regarded as one of the most valuable players in world football and was seemingly available at a reasonable price this window.

Man United were strongly linked with a swap deal involving Dybala and striker Romelu Lukaku, which failed to transpire, before Spurs encountered similar issues when they chased after the attacker.

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Depth is key

Spurs famously didn’t sign any players last summer and, despite criticism, still managed to finish fourth as well as reaching the Champions League final, which they lost to Liverpool.

Pochettino’s players were often forced to play two games a week for weeks on end last season: the most famous example being Heung-Min Son, who was not afforded a break following his Asia Cup campaign despite being visibly exhausted.

Ahead of their opening game against Aston Villa, Pochettino made it clear that he was happy with the squad that he now has at his disposable.

He said: “For me, all the players in the squad are important, if not today, maybe tomorrow. If you are going to win, it is very important to have competition in the squad.

“I tell the players they are top players, all the players involved in Tottenham, they are top players. Of course, you prefer to have good quality and to make competitive with each other to be better, and of course it is a long season over ten months.

“It is tough and you will use different players in different competitions. If you want to be consistent and challenge, you need to have that competition in the squad.”

Spurs host newly promoted Villa in Saturday’s late kick-off. Their last top-flight meeting, in March 2016, ended 2-0 to the north London club courtesy of a Harry Kane brace.

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