So Tottenham may have lost their opening game in the ICC Melbourne 2016, but I don’t feel that the fourth pre season friendly of the summer was a complete disaster. Let’s look at the important points from this interesting clash.
This was basically a second string squad
Mauricio Pochettino took the decision to give his players who featured at Euro 2016 a further rest, and not make them travel for this tournament in Australia. Bar new signings Wanyama and Janssen, the rest of yesterday’s starting eleven will be very unlikely to be involved come the clash with Everton on August 13th. When you consider just who Spurs had out there, a 2-1 defeat against Italy’s finest was not a bad result by any means. Hugo Loris, Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are all have some much needed time out, and this should reap rewards come the start of the new campaign proper.
Erik Lamela is set to shine this season
The introduction of Erik Lamela at half time put some much needed life into the Tottenham performance and showed just how far the Argentine footballer has come under the guidance of fellow countryman Mauricio Pochettino. Lamela’s first season at the club was nothing short of shambolic when you consider the player’s price tag, and it had looked likely he would make a swift exit with Italy intact the rumoured destination. However, the move never materilaised and since the exit of André Villas-Boas, Erik Lamela’s stock has risen sharply. His assured presence on the pitch against Juve, not to mention his goal, is a timely reminder of just how important Erik Lamela can be for Tottenham this coming season.
Spurs have a rough diamond in Marcus Edwards
Having been involved in a contract wrangle with the club for a number of months, Marcus Edwards has now put pen to paper on a new deal and he showed exactly why that signature was so important to Tottenham with his display against Juve. Admittedly, Edwards wasn’t introduced until the 63 minute, but he acquitted himself so well when you consider he is just seventeen years of age. This experience will have done Marcus the world of good, and it would be no surprise to see the youngster establish himself as an integral part of the Spurs squad over the course of the upcoming campaign.
It certainly was last season, and Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City took full advantage. For me, teams in the English top flight have forgotten the art of defending over the past few years, and the standard has definitely slipped. Although Manchester City made it to the semi final stages of the 2015/16 Champions League, the performances of English sides as a whole was very disappointing, and the previous year was even worse. This certainly supports the argument that top level English sides aren’t quite the force of years gone by, but it is a situation that makes for a much more interesting Premier League.
Last term, the dominance of the ‘big four’ finally came to an end, with both Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur securing places in the Champions League thanks to their performances over the course of the Premier League season. Chelsea and Manchester United have gone backwards over the course of the last twelve months and although both clubs have made moves to change that during the summer, including new high profile managers and a number of big name signings, there is no guarantee of instant results. The bookies believe that Utd are most likely to challenge for the title, with the odds compilers at bet365 putting Jose Mourinho’s men in as the 7/2 second favourites behind Manchester City who are the 9/4 market leaders. Mourinho didn’t have the best of times during his final months at Chelsea last season, and it will be interesting to see whether the Portuguese can hit the ground running at Old Trafford.
Tottenham are currently available at odds of 8/1, and I believe I’m right in saying that this is the shortest price Spurs have been prior to a Premier League season getting underway. Mauricio Pochettino’s side did capitulate once Leicester secured the 2015/16 crown, but Pochettino’s players will have definitely learnt from that experience and with two excellent additions to the Spurs squad with both Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen incoming, there is no reason why Tottenham can’t be competitive at the business end of the division once again. The Champions League schedule will likely take some getting used to, but is arguably easier on the players than the Europa League, with the matches taking place earlier in the week, meaning more recovery time prior to Premier League games.
Manchester City are bound to see some changes in personnel over the next few weeks, following the arrival of new manager Pep Guardiola, and there have been rumours over the past few days that the Spaniard is interested in the services of Tottenham’s own Harry Kane. The former Bayern Munich boss will be spending time with all his current crop of players now the European Championships have reached a conclusion, and it would be no surprise to see Guardiola add some men already proven at the highest level in the Premier League. Since Gareth Bale departed from White Hart Lane, Spurs seem to have stopped selling their biggest name each season, but there has arguably not been a player with the star quality of Harry since Bale was at the football club.
The Tottenham Hotspur board are currently thrashing out a deal with Kane’s agent which is set to push the striker’s wages into the region of £100,000 per week. While this is a huge sum of money, it does not reflect the going rate for a player who has achieved what Harry Kane has over the past couple of seasons. The 22 year old won the Premier League’s Golden Boot at the conclusion of the last campaign with 25 Premier League goals in 38 appearances, this coming off the back of 21 goals in his 2014/15 season. While the recent European Championship wasn’t a success for Harry, his performances for England in the build up to the tournament itself had been outstanding, and only go to enhance his reputation and value further still. I realise that Spurs have a relatively strict wage structure in place, but paying Harry Kane less than the going rate makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and will do little to frighten off big spending clubs like Manchester City.
I don’t personally believe Harry Kane has an interesting in leaving Tottenham Hotspur, especially at this relatively early stage of his career. He will be able to compete against the very best Europe has to offer in the Champions League this season, and Spurs are definitely a club on the up under manager Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs boss have given Kane a bit of time off before joining the rest of the squad for his gruelling pre-season training regime, and the front man will no doubt benefit from this having had a very strenuous couple of years. Euro 2016 won’t have done Kane any favours both physically and mentally, but a holiday will likely do him the world of good and I fully expect Kane to have another cracking season come 2016/17. I just hope it isn’t in a Manchester City shirt…
Although Tottenham’s pursuit of Vincent Janssen has been somewhat delayed thank to so-called ‘fan’ Billy Beane, it now appears that the club are close to securing the signature of the 22 year old striker. Spurs originally offered AZ Alkmaar £15m for the player’s services, but AZ were told by by Moneyball creator Billy Beane that they should hold out for at least £16.5m based on his statistical analysis of Janssen. Beane used his Moneyball technique in baseball to great effect, but he is yet to achieve a similar level of success within the football arena. Despite the fact that Billy Beane’s method’s don’t appear to work where football clubs are concerned, AZ Alkmaar appointed the 54 year old as an advisor in March 2015. Beane is very close with with former Tottenham Director of Football and Arsenal scout Damien Comolli, which doesn’t bode particularly well as far as improving his knowledge of the transfer market is concerned.
A Dutch international, Vincent Janssen scored in what was only his second appearance for the Netherlands when they defeated England at Wembley earlier this year. Top scorer in Eredivisie last season with a very impressive return of 27 goals, Janssen is clearly a very talented young forward, and seems to have an excellent temperament which is encouraging with a move to the Premier League in mind. The player has stated on more than one occasion that he wants to make the switch to North London, and was was a little frustrated with the fact that Alkmaar were not willing to budge where Billy Beane’s valuation was concerned. With Tottenham seemingly now having met the asking price, personal terms are likely to be agreed quickly and Vincent Janssen could would be a Tottenham Hotspur player within the next few days.
Mauricio Pochettino has been particularly busy in this summer transfer window thus far, and it may well be a blessing in disguise that the move for Tony Sanabria fell through as I feel that Vincent Janssen is the by far the more accomplished player of the two. I fancy Janssen to hit the ground running come the new Premier League season and be a valuable addition to the Spurs squad.