It’s another summer of change at Tottenham, who are seeking to get back into the Premier League top four.
A poor 2022/23 campaign under Antonio Conte, which cost the Italian his job in March, ultimately resulted in an eighth-place finish for Spurs, which has meant that no European football will be at the Lane next season — something the club have not experienced since 2009/10.
Conte’s permanent successor, Ange Postecoglou, was an unproven entity at Celtic before winning supporters and observers with his style-and-substance approach. Daniel Levy is now banking on the wily Australian coach to steer Tottenham into calmer waters.
Postecoglou’s knowledge of the Japanese market, following a stint at Yokohama F. Marinos, culminated in some astute signings in Glasgow, not least Daizen Maeda, Yuki Kobayashi, Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate.
It’s unlikely the north Londoners will look east, but their chairman has already been active with goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario and midfielder James Maddison joining. Dejan Kulusevski’s loan has been made permanent and with others around them strengthening and refreshing their squads, it’s unlikely Spurs’ business is finished, especially with certain positions Postecoglou will be keen to address.
There’s also the elephant in the room: talismanic striker Harry Kane entering the final year of his contract and attracting numerous suitors, chiefly Bayern Munich. Combing strong rumours and bookmakers’ favourites we’ve looked at who could join Maddison and Vicario in the upcoming weeks at Spurs.
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It goes without saying that replacing a player of Harry Kane’s repute is near impossible, especially given the lack of prolific number nines on the open market. If the club’s all-time leading scorer does leave, then Spurs will either seek a direct replacement or allow Postecoglou to get creative — Richarlison has been known to play in Kane’s role, for example.
Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram, Goncalo Ramos and Jonathan David are names who could leave their respective clubs this summer, but none have been strongly associated with Spurs. In fact, Thuram could be playing Serie A football next term, and that’s where Kane’s potential successor could be found.
Dusan Vlahovic may have played his final games for Juventus if certain rumours are to be believed; the ex-Fiorentina marksman netted 10 goals across 27 league appearances last season, though he’s shown in the past to be capable of doing much better.
Keeping goals out was an issue for Spurs last season. Of the sides who stayed up, only Bournemouth (71) and Nottingham Forest (68) shipped in more goals than Tottenham (63), who only kept a meagre 10 clean sheets. Aside from the Kane issue, fixing Spurs’ defence will be Postecoglou’s first port of call. Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, Clement Lenglet and Cristian Romero have, in different stages, come under heavy criticism. It also remains to be seen whether Postecoglou keeps Sanchez or Dier, with Lenglet also returning to Barcelona following a loan spell.
Someone who could instead feature in a new-look Spurs backline is former England U19 international Tosin Adarabioyo, who turned out 25 times in England’s top division last term. His present deal at Fulham expires next summer, meaning a reasonable amount could see him move across England’s capital. Adarabioyo, who is eligible to represent Nigeria, has already been linked with Ligue 1 outfits Rennes and Monaco as well as Champions League finalists Inter Milan.
You always need a contingency plan and Edmond Tapsoba is another option to come into Tottenham’s defence if they seek centre-back reinforcements. Tapsoba has represented Bayer Leverkusen since 2020 when he relocated from Vitoria de Guimaraes, and the Burkina Faso centre-back — who cites John Stones, Per Mertesacker, and Virgil van Dijk as role models — has been nothing short of amazing.
Micky van de Ven
Staying in the Bundesliga, which has served Tottenham well before, Micky van de Ven is another central defender making peoplpe sit up and take notice. Having turned 22 earlier this year, the Dutch U21 international, who came through at Volendam before joining Wolfsburg, has previously stressed that he’s in no rush to exit Wolfsburg, who are reportedly seeking around €30m (£26m) for his signature — but the prospect of joining a Premier League team is tantalising.
“I’m very good [happy] at Wolfsburg, so I don’t mind staying at Wolfsburg for another year but, if I get a chance to leave, I would like to,” he said.
“I read everything… I have good contact with my agent, so I know what’s going on. I’ll see where it will lead. Hopefully, [moving to a bigger club] would be nice. The Premier League, maybe, yes. Who knows?”
Three ways Tottenham could line up under Postecoglou next season
Spurs essentially hired Postecoglou for his proactive approach which has enabled those who play for him to embrace an expansive brand of football likened to Pep Guardiola’s work at Manchester City (and elsewhere). The 57-year-old coach nominally utilises a 4-3-3 formation and that’s expected to be his Spurs blueprint.
Retaining the services of Kane, even for one more season, will feel like a big win. He could walk back into a new-look Tottenham side with several acquisitions notably at the back. Either side of Kane are tried and tested duo of Son and Kulusevski while their midfield has the potential to be among the Premier League’s best.
Life without Harry
This one sees minimum transfer activity (Vicario and Maddison are the only changes from last season’s team) which goes a long way to emphasise the point of new beginnings, a second chance for those who disappointed. Postecoglou will undoubtedly run the rule over the squad he inherits, subsequently placing this upcoming pre-season as make or break for some. Richarlison is an in-house replacement to lead Spurs’ attack in Kane’s absence while Dier and Romero have the opportunity to make amends.
A new era
If Kane does leave and Spurs decide to break the bank on recruiting a major successor, then Dusan Vlahovic would be a statement signing and a half, underlining the club’s determination to break back into the top four. That could mean funds are restricted elsewhere, so Adarabioyo would represent a tidier piece of business that’s unlikely to cost an arm and a leg given his contract situation across the city.