News with views from the No1 Spurs website

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Would Fraser Forster make a good third choice?


Would Fraser Forster make a good third choice?

Fraser-Forster

Southampton and England goalkeeper Fraser Forster is out in the cold at the South Coast club and doesn't fit in with the new coach's plans.

The former RB Leipzig manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl, said today in his pre-game press conference that the former England stopper, he gained 6 full international caps, would play for the Under-23team so prospective buyers could have a look at him.

The question is would he make a good signing as third-choice goalkeeper or would his wages be too much?

He is a 30-year-old (31 in March) now but has been st on a bench for a year, although he did sign a new contract in 2017 to take him until 2022 so may be too expensive for a number three.

Forster lost his place after we beat them 5-2 on 28 December 2017. The following game was against Manchester United where he was dropped to the bench and stayed there until the end of the season. 

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Spurs among a host of clubs eyeing Herrera


Spurs among a host of clubs eyeing free agent Herrera

Hector-Herrera

Tottenham Hotspur are among a host of clubs eyeing Hector Herrera.

As well as Spurs they include Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Roma, Sevilla and Athletico Madrid among others.


The 28-year-old (29 in September) Mexican international (he has 70 caps) plays as a midfielder for Portuguese side Porto and is a free agent in the summer, hence the interest.

Because of his age, I don't see him joining Tottenham, he doesn't match our profile yet he could probably do a job while Oliver Skipp develops.

As is perfectly normal, Spurs are still keeping a watching brief on a player we tried to sign before his successful move to RB Leipzig, German international striker Timo Werner.

He has scored 11 goals in 17 Bundesliga games with a further 2 assists. Internationally he now has 9 goals in 23 games. He was always thought of as the next big German striker and is starting to live up to his potential.

However, that always means that he will be expensive and highly unlikely to want to play second fiddle to Harry Kane, but if you don't ask these players, you don't get them.




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Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Alderweireld and Skipp


A Couple Of Points From The Chelsea Game

Toby-Alderweireld

What did you takeout of last nights game?

A couple of things stood out.

A few years back I wrote about the importance of having a right-footed and left-footed combination at centre-back. Toby Alderweireld showed the problem of a right-footed centre-back playing on the left in our system when the opposition press high.

His long-ball passing with his left-foot isn't a patch on his right foot and he just kept giving the ball back to Chelsea. Paulo Gazziniga didn't help him, chipping the ball over players and trapping him in the corner.

The sooner Jan Vertonghen returns the batter, we miss him and his delivery there. Foyth and Sanchez, you'll note, have both been played on the right, being right-footed and it is the experienced Alderweireld who has had to move out of his best position, not ideal.

With stories that Manchester United hierarchy didn't want Alderweireld and thought he couldn't play in a two, strange given he and Vertonghen had created what was generally regarded as the best centre-back pairing in the Premier League.

Will they, therefore, renew interest under a new manager and will Alderweireld have a change of heart and sign the new contract that is on the table?

The Argentinian stopper, born in the same town as Pochettino, needs to learn to look beyond the first pass. The object is to assess your options and the options of the player receiving the ball if you can and play the best pass for the team to develop an attack.

We used to play too many passes that just gave the responsibility to another player and we have remedied that to a great extent, but not eradicated it.

Couple that with not kicking the ball hard enough to a teammate when at the back and we still make life difficult for ourselves sometimes when sides press us.


Overall though, Chelsea had no striker and we coped with their threat well, although we hung on at times. We'll have to play better at their place and not let them dominate the game so.

Oliver-Skipp


The other thing that struck me was the faith that Pochettino showed in young 18-year-old (19 in September) midfielder Oliver Skipp. We were holding on for a 1-0 win and Pochettino was happy to give him responsibility in the middle of the park, an important role cutting out passes into the centre-back area.

He once again did his job well and made a great tackle on Hazard to put the ball out for a corner. Skipp is being brought along just as Harry Winks was brought along. These cameos put pressure on him and certainly a Cup semi-final when your side is hanging onto a lead is pressure.

The more experience he gets the better he will become obviously. Those suggesting he is not ready don't know what they are talking about quite frankly, cheque book fans.

Winks himself reminds me a lot of Steve Perryman, a stalwart and a Tottenham great from the 70's and 80's.

If Winks plays over 655 games for us I'll be delighted and he and Skipp could, in time, be our central midfield pairing, we'll see.



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Elif Elmas and Julian Weigl


Transfer Talk - Elif Elmas and Julian Weigl

Elif-Elmas


Elif Elmas is a Macedonian international (he has 5 full caps) who plays for Turkish club Fenerbahçe. Being young the press predictably describe him as a wonder kid, isn't everyone according to them!

The 19-year-old (20 in September) is being tracked by Lazio, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund among others.

The skillful central midfielder could be a possible replacement for Mousa Dembélé. It has been suggested elsewhere that he isn't playing enough but he has been involved in 17 games, starting 11 and coming on as a substitute in 6 more. 

He has played 1,076 and played full games in 8 of the last 9 Süper Lig games. This news doesn't originate in Turkey but can be found in the Italian press.

Websites over here suggest if Spurs beat Real Madrid to his signature it shows how far they have come, which is complete nonsense as Real Madrid may not even try to sign him. Why can't journalists grasp that if you watch a player you are not actively buying him, you are just assessing him and many will be rejected.

Julian-Weigl

Bild suggests that Spurs have approached 23-year-old (24 in September) Borussia Dortmund defensive midfielder Julian Weigl, who has a contract until 2021.

He is out of favour at the moment having made just 4 appearances in the Bundesliga (240 minutes) and 3 in the UEFA Champions League (199 minutes).

Weigl is wanted by Monchi at Roma and PSG, who are managed by former Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel, while yet another report in Bild says the club will not sell him in case Axel Witsel gets injured. Like us they have a congested fixture list coming up and we are due to play them in the UEFA Champions League in February.

Spurs need to wait until the summer anyway, but he is just one of many central midfielders we are looking at, as you are all aware.

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Monday, 7 January 2019

Eriksen and Isco Swap


Tottenham Transfer Talk

Christian-Eriksen

The latest rumours in Spain suggest that Tottenham more receptive of the idea of 26-year-old (27 next February) Christian Eriksen moving to Real Madrid, but only if 26-year-old (27 next April) Isco or 22-year-old (23 next January) Marco Asensio comes in the other direction.

Eriksen is stalling on a new contract and it will be his desire that decides what happens next summer, not the Spurs management just selling him to raise cash, although it would if Real Madrid could find some.

He would command a fee in excess of that for Coutinho who joined Barcelona and hasn't been a success for a basic £117m plus £29m add-ons (£146m). The figure reportedly quoted to Barcelona last summer was £190m which is being reported in the Daily Express as new news!

These informal chats will no doubt be contingency plans if Eriksen decides to leave. It would be irresponsible of a club to wait until a player definitely decides to leave and not have scoured the market for other options should that eventuality arise.

These sort of chats take place all the time between clubs or agents, nobody is in the business of trying to leave a player or a club in the lurch. Prior warning of possible intentions allows clubs to sound out these sort of potential deals.

It will be a big summer for Spurs and Daniel Levy's team are going to have to work hard to try and shift players early in the window, which means negotiations before the end of the season, to be able to bring in some new blood.

Since I wrote this on 22 December Isco still hasn't started a game under interim manager Santiago Solari and it is now being reported in the national press.

Reports from Italy tell us that Tottenham and Manchester City have sent scouts to watch 18-year-old (19 next May) AC Milan Under-19 and Italian Under-20 (2 caps) right-back Raoul Bellanova.

According to Millannews.it, the agent of the player and the Italian club are so far to reach an agreement on a contract. Torino, Atalanta and Sampdoria as well as the two Premier League sides, while Bologna, Sassuolo and Juventus have asked to be kept informed of his situation.

He currently has a contract ending in the summer.

Football Whispers, probably bringing news from a Dutch newspaper, suggest Spurs are keen on 23-year-old (24 next January) Feyenoord and Dutch international (15 caps) central-midfielder Tonny Vilhena.

He is under contract until 2020, he is also being tracked by AC Milan and Roma.

AC Milan, however, has FFP issues and have been told by UEFA that if they don't break even by June 2011 they will be banned from Europe. The Italian club successfully fought a two-year ban last summer.

Adrien Rabiot is simply asking too much wages, which neither PSG or ourselves are willing to pay. He is reportedly earning €60,000 per week and wants a €10m annual salary, which equates to €192,307-a-week.

Somewhat of a difference. He has previously used clubs before to get a wage increase at PSG, or his mother has. With Barcelona being mentioned it sounds very much as if he is doing the same again.




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Spurs monitoring Diawara but he's not playing at Napoli


Tottenham Transfer Talk

Amadou-Diawara

The summer we will see changes to the Spurs squad as Mauricio Pochettino tries to improve it further. Central and defensive midfield have been an issue this season with Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembélé all being injured at the same time.

Wanyama and Dembélé may move on leaving more chances for Oliver Skipp but also a need for at least one replacement. A player we have been following is 21-year-old (22 in July) Napoli midfielder Amadou Diawara.

He is reportedly unhappy as he is now getting even less game time under new manager Carlo Ancelotti than he was under Maurizio Sarri before he left for Chelsea. He has played just 483 minutes equivalent to 9.22 full games.


The director of RMC Sport, Niccolò Ceccarini, writes that Carlo Ancelloti wants to keep Diawara and that a sale would only happen if a Super offer came in, which won't happen from an Italian side as they don't have the money.

Fiorentina are interested in taking him on loan, Wolves are interested with reports suggesting £31.33 million (€35m) which is a little premature considering it's suggested he won't even be allowed to leave on loan until 20th January at the earliest.

The promising defensive midfielder is an excellent tackler and has a good short passing game. He closes spaces, intercepts the ball and has the physicality to play the role. However, he can hold the ball when moving forward too.

He has an ability to beat a press and possess an excellent long passing game in addition to a short one. he excelled in Serie A when he first arrived at Bologna but a slump in form saw him struggle for game time at Napoli. First, he was second fiddle to Jorginho, then he hasn't been given the trust of his head coaches.

Diawara fits our profile of a good footballer young enough to improve with the physicality to handle the Premier League. There is a quality footballer in there waiting to be developed.

He has Italian citizenship but turned down Italy to represent his homeland (as all players should) Guinea. That does mean that any club will lose him to the African Cup of Nations in January every two years.



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Sunday, 6 January 2019

Onomah replacing Dembélé


Has Onomah got what it takes to replace Dembélé?


Mousa Dembélé looks as if he is coming to the end of his time at Tottenham with his fitness issues catching up with him and his contract running out at the end of the season.

Some are suggesting that Josh Onomah should be brought back and given a chance. My view is that that is charity and Spurs are not a charity but a top line football team where you have to prove you deserve a game before you get one.

In addition, he looks more of an attacking midfielder than a defensive one or a link midfielder. Would he fit in the midfield diamond? Would you be comfortable with him at the base of it, at the Dele Alli point of it or one of the two side positions?

Yes you have to develop youngsters, but the youngsters have to show the right attitude, the right mentality to get that chance, you don't just give it to anyone with a bit of skill, every player these days has technical ability.

You go into forums and read or go on Twitter and this aspect isn't even considered by the average fan, yet it is the most important factor in the makeup of a footballer or any sportsman for that matter.

The question you should be asking is has he shown the mental desire to improve his game and force his way into contention? He has been to two Championship clubs now and can't get a regular game with either of them. According to their managers, he simply doesn't do enough, which was my assessment of him at Spurs.


Oliver Skipp is showing what Onomah first showed when he was picked for the Spurs side. He then had success with England at the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, having previously won the 2014 UEFA U-17 European Championships and stood still for Spurs, indeed he went backwards.

His performances became almost lethargic, he had no impact on the games at all, he looked to have nothing about him, he looked as if he felt he had made it and didn't need to try any more.

Has he improved since that point?

He started 20 Championship games for Aston Villa in 2017/18, making a further 13 appearances as asubstitute. This season he has made 8 starting appearances and 3 as a sub. The last 2 games he has not been in the squad.


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Quiet January Transfer Window


A Quiet January Transfer Window For Spurs

Transfer-Talk

I wrote this on 31st December and after Pochettino's comments it looks as though I have the situation spot on.

The January transfer window is nearly upon us so the media will and are fuelling transfer speculation with little thought to the actual practicalities.

Tottenham will not have a busy transfer window. Clubs do not want to lose the type of player we want mid-season, they can't properly replace them. They can't give them a pre-season to get used to their teammates or the clubs system of play.

Spurs do not want to sign players just for numbers, the fans seem to, but Mauricio Pochettino doesn't.

Cue the stupid whinging about Levy not spending money or not having the desire. Both are beyond ludicrous if you understand the context, the actual practicalities of our situation both on and off the pitch.

We have been unable to shift players, hence we can't buy as there are no squad places available. We even have Vincent Janssen on the books without a squad number, that alone should tell you all you need to know about our situation.

Fernando Llorente looks to have secured a deal with Galatasaray to lave in January but Janssen and N'Koudou both need to be offloaded as well before we can buy.

There is also Toby Alderweireld to consider. The club needs to know what is happening there as there has been an interesting development in Holland.

Ajax have agreed a deal with Boca Juniors to sign 25-year-old (26 next September) centre-back Lisandro Magallán on a four and a half year contract for £8.06 million (€9m).

Tottenham are just one of a host of clubs who want to sign 19-year-old (20 next August) Ajax captain and centre-half, Matthijs de Ligt, who we tried to sign last summer but Ajax wanted to hold onto him for another season.


Without Alderweireld leaving there is probably not a place available, especially given the development of Juan Foyth. We do seem to like Ajax defenders, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez and we have Christian Eriksen in midfield of course.

With the likes of Barcelona interested de Ligt will be a difficult one to sign, but the signings we want are all difficult and highly unlikely to happen in January.



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Saturday, 5 January 2019

Rest, Hero's and Clinical Finishing


Rest, Hero's and Clinical Finishing


Our biggest ever away win could have been even better with two glorious early chances missed and provoked some talking points.

The team set up was interesting with various players charged with having a rest.

Gazziniga is a comfortable sight in goal these days. In defence Juan Foyth had licence to carry the ball forward while Davinson Sanchez and Ben Davies were charged with conserving energy at the back, staying there and defending.

In front of them, Oliver Skipp was the player with the legs while Dele Alli was given the role of sitting there and orchestrating. He was clearly playing but conserving energy and it was only when the game was sewn up did he go in search of a goal himself.

Either side of them were Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters, both allowed to run up and down the flanks allowing others to rest.

Son generally confined himself to one side of the field with Lucas Moura doing more of the legwork leaving Fernando Llorente to lead the line.

A side set up to take it easy with half the side with licence to put in a shift.

It worked successfully as the 7-0 scoreline indicates and every Spurs fan will be delighted with Llorente getting a hat-trick, Son grabbing another and Kane netting one.

Harry Kane showed why he is the England captain and not Jordan Henderson. This may be the only chance some of the children in the crowd get to see the England captain in the flesh. Harry Kane, as the nations footballing leader is a role model. He is someone children want to see, he has the ability therefore to inspire.

A 15 minute cameo gives them the chance to see a hero, they will go home happy.

As a coach you always look for improvement. Over the last few years, quite apart from improving our mentality, although it is a related skill, being clinical in front of goal when we are leading three or so has been something I have suggested we need to improve.

Being clinical isn't something you can simply turn on and off when you want to. It needs to be practiced and instilled in game situations. When a player or players are attacking they need to make the right decision, pick the right pass, play it accurately at the right weight before being finished.

All that takes concentration. Too many times over the years we have been too relaxed about it. Why is it important.

Well, Chelsea under Jose Mourinho used to wait for our mistake, punish it, then wait for another mistake later in the game to punish us again running out comfortable victors.

When it mattered they tucked the ball into the net, they didn't need 6 or 7 chances to do so. That is the goal we have to strive for, when a chance arrives to tuck it away. Playing Liverpool or Manchester City, for instance, it could well be the difference between winning or being 'unlucky' losers.

It is a question of switching on the concentration at crucial moments so it becomes natural every time we counter-attack or a player is faced with an opportunity. You wouldn't say Mousa Sissoko, for instance, is composed in front of goal, he has more ability in front of goal than he shows.


Both Son and Luca Moura missed golden opportunities. Can we afford to do that against Liverpool?

When a batsman is facing a bowler during a cricket match he is concentrating. Once that is over he relaxes until it's time to concentrate on the next ball. If it is a fast bowler, some batsmen will take a little walk away from the wicket before walking back, getting into his position and switching on the concentration again.

When a chance comes along when a game is won that is exactly what the player should be doing, switching on their concentration, training themselves that every opportunity that arrises they concentrate on.

Leonel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo score as many goals as they do, and Ronaldo is the leading scorer in Italy right now because they switch their concentration on every time.

We are getting better, we are learning, 6 against Everton, 5 against Bournemouth, 7 against Tranmere are a testimony to that, but 1 against Wolves, when we should have had more, cost us.

Steven McManaman said in commentary that top teams put sides to the sword, they keep scoring, they don't ease up. Yes there are times when sides do obviously and with 11 games in 33 days we have to grab rest when we can, but the principle remains. Top sides are clinical in front of goal.

We were and it was great to see, but, as always, there is still room for improvement so that when that chance comes in that big game, it's taken.

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Friday, 4 January 2019

Skipp and Sterling, the pressure, the mentality, who has it?


Skipp and Sterling, the pressure, the mentality, who has it?

Oliver-Skipp

When Emmanuel Adebayor was at Tottenham I suggested he and others could learn from the mentality of Harry Kane who holds the record for most Premier League Player of the Month awards (six; shared with Steven Gerrard).

Kane made his first Premier League start on 27 April 2014 against Sunderland and scored his first EPL goal in the 59th minute. He turned 21 in July that year. The following season (2014/15) he picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year Award.


I could go on but the rest is history as the saying goes.

Talent alone was not good enough. Harry has had to work hard at his game, but more than that he has had to have the mentality to do so.

I talked previously about a winning attitude when referring to Kane and Adebayor and took that attitude into the pub and a game of pool. I have a winning attitude myself, I absolutely hated losing. Playing pool in a pub, I'd play to win and the only decent games were against others who wanted to win.

That is a winning mentality, not playing for fun but putting everything into winning. The fun in any sport was winning. Win and you could enjoy it, lose and you haven't. Yes, you may be boosted by a personal performance in a team game, but if you have lost it merely shows you are on form. It counts for nothing but your ego.

Lee Dixon was asked during commentary for NBC last night whether in these big games he enjoyed it. His reply was that if truth be told no player enjoyed any game as they were concentrating too much on performing.

These games were not game they looked forward too, but looked forward to being over. He too said you can only enjoy it after you have won.

Any player you see laughing and joking after his side has lost DOES NOT have a winning mentality. It goes beyond winning, it drives you to improve your game in training and in Harry Kane's case to employ his own chef to improve his nutrition and fitness.

Josh Onomah and Marcus Edwards simply don't have that approach, they have talent and think that is enough, it isn't.

I see on Twitter people calling for youth to play for 16-year-old (17 in February) Troy Parrott or 20-year-old (21 in November) Kazaiah Sterling to be played.

It is easier to blood as a central or defensive midfielder than it is as a striker, while there is pressure, there is arguably less pressure.

Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp could shield, spray the ball from one side to the other, play short passes to a more experienced teammate, they can ease into Premier League life.

As a striker, the result of the match hinges on whether you can put the ball into the net, whether at a young age you have the composure to do that on a big stage in front of big noisy crowds. There isn't really any time to learn.

Harry Kane (now MBE) scored in his first three Premier League starts, he hit the ground running. A central midfielder can look good without creating or stopping a goal, a striker lives or dies by whether he puts the ball in the net or not.

The role of an academy is to produce professional footballers. Naturally, you will pick the cream of the crop and keep them yourselves if you can, but that is really a by-product of producing professional footballers.

The question we don't know yet is does Sterling have the mentality of Kane or Onomah?

Onomah went through the motions in his last season with us, he wasn't making an impact, he wasn't making himself the best he can be, while Kane was and is.

Kane has made it, but he hasn't made it because he still believes there is improvement to come and thus works to find it.

Does Sterling have that make-up?

Without it you will not reach the very top and the youth players Mauricio Pochettino seeks are those with Kane's winning mentality, both on and off the pitch.

COYS


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