When Tottenham Hotspur went big in the summer transfer window, some were expecting them to be fighting for the title, but they are some way off the pace.
Ahead of Antonio Conte’s first full season in charge, Tottenham brought in eight new players including Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet and Yves Bissouma – while Cristian Romero’s loan move was also made permanent. Richarlison in particular was tipped to be the final piece of Tottenham’s attacking puzzle, adding quality in depth alongside Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski.
But the Brazilian has struggled for form and fitness in North London, while Tottenham as a whole have struggled. After 17 matches, Tottenham are fifth in the Premier League, two points outside the top four but have played a game more than fourth-placed Manchester United. They have already lost five times this season, and the gap between them and rivals Arsenal (who are also Premier League leaders) is an embarrassing 13 points – the Gunners also have a game in hand.
One of Tottenham’s problems recently has been a lack of creativity outside of Kulusevski, looking bereft of ideas when the Swede isn’t on the pitch – and that’s been a much more frequent occurrence this season due to injury. Last time out, Tottenham were frustrated by an Aston Villa side that perfectly cut all attacking options, sitting deep and almost daring someone to try break their line – but Tottenham didn’t have anyone capable.
Fortunately for Tottenham, the January transfer window is open and there is a chance for Conte to look to new players to try and deal with his creative problem. So who are they being linked with, and how might they change Tottenham?
|Tottenham winter transfer odds 22/23: To sign for before 3rd February
|Alexis Mac Allister||12/1|
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It seems as though Ismaila Sarr is linked with a move away from Watford every transfer window, and probably will be until he actually leaves, with January 2023 no different. The Senegalese forward has been a key member of Watford’s side this season, aiming to help the Hornets back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
In 21 Championship appearances for Watford so far this season, Sarr has scored six goals and recorded a further five assists, ranking second for goals and first for assists among his Hornets teammates. Sarr has also completed 26 take-ons and created 19 chances, with 194 final third passes attempted – with only two Tottenham players managing more in the Premier League this season.
But as always Tottenham face tough opposition for Sarr, not least from Watford who will want to keep their star man, with Sky Bet offering odds of 10/1 for him to join Conte’s side in the January transfer window.
Alexis Mac Allister
Alexis Mac Allister is another player who will be on a lot of wishlists this winter, fresh from winning the World Cup with Argentina. While Brighton fans and some avid Premier League followers will have been aware of Mac Allister’s before the tournament in Qatar, but this announced his quality to a wider stage and in his more natural position.
Although Mac Allister plays as a No.6 for Brighton, he was more advanced for Argentina and wasn’t out of place in an attacking line up that also included Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria. He created eight chances at the World Cup and recorded one assist in six matches, while also winning possession in the middle third on 28 occasions — the second most at the World Cup — proving he could do more than one job for Tottenham.
Ferran Torres is more of an attacking option than a creative one, but his potential arrival at Tottenham could allow Kane to drop slightly deeper and add creativity knowing he has two players ready to finish chances. Torres hasn’t had the best of times at Barcelona this season with just 594 minutes in La Liga, scoring twice, but he equalled that tally in four games at the World Cup.
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The man Tottenham fans will probably want most, James Maddison is one of the best creative players in the Premier League and may need rescuing from a struggling Leicester. Although he has been suffering with injuries this season, when fit there aren’t many better creators with Premier League experience than Maddison from both open and set play.
In the Premier League this season, only five players have a better average of chances created per 90 minutes (minimum of 324 minutes played) than Maddison’s 2.54, which is just higher than Tottenham’s best man Kulusevski and star of the moment Martin Odegaard.
Providing four assists from his 31 chances created, Maddison has the killer touch that Tottenham have been missing, and he has also attempted 225 final third passes. Let’s not forget he’s also scored seven goals too and is dangerous from a set piece.
The final contender is a bit like Torres, seen more as a scorer than a creator, but Wilfried Zaha can still make things happen. With Zaha, chances are formed through his dribbling and ability to draw a foul, which can put Tottenham in promising positions.
However, like Torres, Zaha’s prowess in the box with six goals scored in the Premier League this season — five of which have come from open play — would allow Kane to drop deeper without losing something further up the pitch.