Tottenham Hotspur have had an underwhelming campaign on many levels. Just three months into the 2019-20 season, the Lilywhites were forced to sack Mauricio Pochettino due to a disastrous start to the season.
In came Jose Mourinho and things looked bright initially under the Portuguese, but it proved to be a false dawn. Tottenham’s form had been on a steep decline prior to the season getting suspended, with the North Londoners crashing out of the Champions League and the FA Cup, while finding them in eighth in the Premier League table.
Injuries to key players have exposed the lack of depth within the squad at Tottenham. And a summer of rebuild is the need of the hour for Mourinho & co., if they are to push for a top-four finish next time out. With reports claiming that the manager will be handed a £135 million transfer warchest, here are five players that the Lilywhites should look to recruit when the transfer opens for business:
Max Aarons (Norwich City)
The right-back slot has been a cause of concern for Tottenham after they allowed Kieran Trippier to leave last summer without bringing in a replacement. Serge Aurier has been at his erroneous best again, while youngster Kyle Walker-Peters was allowed to leave on loan, leaving the club short on options.
Hence, a right-back should be a priority for Spurs and Norwich City’s Max Aarons could fit the bill for the Londoners. The Canaries’ academy starlet had been instrumental during their promotion-winning campaign last season. And, he has been one of the brightest sparks for the club even as they face the prospect of relegation from the Premier League.
Aarons has featured in all but two of Norwich City’s league games this season and has provided two assists. Brimming with potential, impressive in both attacking and defensive aspects of his game, the 20-year-old has shown enough qualities in his debut Premier League season for Tottenham to take a punt on him next season.
Andre Onana (Ajax)
The goalkeeping department is another place where Mourinho will have to assess his options going into next season. Captain Hugo Lloris is entering the twilight of his career. Evidence of his waning powers was on display in Tottenham’s last two matches against RB Leipzig and Burnley. Backup stopper Paulo Gazzaniga hasn’t made enough of an impression either.
Bringing in a new goalkeeper in the summer window would be a smart move by Tottenham. And Ajax’s Andre Onana could prove to be a shrewd addition to the squad. The 23-year-old, a graduate from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, made the jump to Ajax in 2015. And having made his first-team debut a year later, he hasn’t looked back.
Onana played a key role as Ajax won the Eredivisie title and the Dutch Cup last season and made it as far as the semi-final in the Champions League. The Cameroonian has been in fine nick this term as well, keeping 15 clean sheets in 39 matches (37 goals conceded). Linked with a return to Barcelona as well as a move to Chelsea, the 23-year-old could prove to be the ideal No.1 for a long time at Tottenham.
Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Mourinho is known to build his teams around a rock-solid defence, but that has hardly been the case at Tottenham, with the Londoners struggling for stability at the back. Davinson Sanchez hasn’t been solid enough, while Jan Vertonghen has also failed to make much of an impression and could be on his way out with his contract expiring in the summer.
Tottenham need a new centre-back partner for Toby Alderweireld and Manchester United’s Chris Smalling would be someone worth considering, given his experience in the Premier League. The England international was allowed to join AS Roma on loan last summer and he has thrived in Italy, earning himself the nickname ‘Smaldini’.
Smalling has featured 28 times across all competitions for the Giallorossi, scoring a couple of goals and creating one more. The 30-year-old has forged an excellent partnership with Gianluca Mancini in Italy, and Roma are exploring the possibility of making the transfer permanent. Given that Mourinho has already worked with Smalling at Manchester United and has over 200 PL appearances, he would be a smart addition to the side.
Declan Rice (West Ham United)
It is well-known that each of Mourinho’s teams have a solid midfield anchorman, a proper defensive midfielder, who can disrupt play in the middle and screen his backline effectively. And that is one area Tottenham are lacking currently. Eric Dier has aired his wish to move into the centre-back role, while Harry Winks, for all his positive attributes, isn’t an out-and-out No.6.
Hence, an enforcer in the middle of the park should also be on Tottenham’s radar, someone whose presence would allow the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso to have more impact moving forward. To that end, West Ham United’s Declan Rice, who is being targeted by Mourinho’s former club Chelsea, would be a great signing.
The 21-year-old started out as a centre-half, but has moved into the defensive midfield role for a couple of years now and has become a mainstay for the Hammers and the England national team as well. Solid and dependable, Rice has gathered plenty of Premier League experience despite his young age and is bound to get better from hereon, making him an ideal target for Spurs.
Raul Jimenez (Wolves)
A new striker is the most obvious need for Tottenham come summer. Having allowed to leave Fernando Llorente and Vincent Jansen without bringing in a replacement, Spurs have suffered this season without a proper backup to Harry Kane, who has been out injured since January. Things have been made worse by injuries to Son Heung-Min and January signing Steven Bergwijn.
It is quite apparent that Tottenham are in need of a new top-class striker and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez would be an ideal fit for Mourinho’s team. The Mexican international has thrived since joining the Midlands’ outfit in 2018. Having helped them to a top-six finish last time out, Jimenez has continued in the same vein of form this time out as well.
So far in 2019-20, the 28-year-old has found the back of the net on 22 occasions and set up 10 more in 44 matches in all competitions, driving Wolves’ charge for another top-six finish and a quarter-final push in the Europa League. Strength, speed, physicality and top-notch finishing abilities, Jimenez is an all-round centre-forward and would thrive in Mourinho’s team.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Ronny Hartmann