Ahead of the summer transfer window, Tottenham Hotspur are likely to face a period of change within their defensive ranks.
Daniel Levy will have an almighty battle on his hands to keep both Harry Kane and Mauricio Pochettino in North London, however there may well be nothing he can do to keep both Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose at the club.
In terms of arrivals, the money is there to be spent by the club, although there isn’t a need for major surgery, it’s easy to imagine Spurs bringing a couple of players in to supplement the squad. One such player is likely to be Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, with Spurs having done much of the leg-work with regards to his signing already.
Rose’s career with the club is under threat following the loss of his regular starting place to Ben Davies this season. The England international wasn’t helped by his sensational comments about the club’s wage policy at the end of the last summer transfer window and given Manchester United’s need for a left-back, it seems like a transfer between the two clubs could suit all involved.
In Davies, Spurs have a player who is reliable defensively and has worked incredibly hard to improve his contributions in the attacking phase of the game. Sessegnon isn’t going to arrive at Tottenham and take his place right away, yet the teenager has shown himself to be incredibly versatile under Slavisa Jokanovic’s tutelage.
Playing at either left-back or on the left wing, Sessegnon has taken the Championship by storm this season, scoring 14 goals in 38 appearances while also contributing five assists. This is an incredible return for a player with such little experience.
It’s easy to point towards Gareth Bale’s shift from left-back to a forward when you watch Sessegnon play, and it’s important not to raise expectations too high, yet he looks every bit the blue-chip talent that would benefit from a move to Spurs.
Having seen what Mauricio Pochettino has done for Dele Alli’s career, Sessegnon would know he would be afforded game-time with Tottenham, something Manchester United almost certainly wouldn’t offer him in the 2018/19 season.
His performances for a resurgent Fulham side have stoked speculation that the 17-year-old could be given a surprise call-up to the World Cup this summer, however it’s unlikely that Gareth Southgate will repeat Sven-Goran Eriksson’s gamble with Theo Walcott in 2006 after the Fulham star was left out of the squad for the most recent international break.
Finances are an interesting subject at the North London club currently. Whilst the club is obviously benefitting from the current economic boom surrounding Premier League television rights, the move to the New White Hart Lane is undoubtedly going to put a constraint on disposable spending.
It won’t cause the club to suffer to the same extent their fierce rivals, Arsenal, did when moving to the Emirates Stadium, however it may limit incoming transfers once new contracts for key stars are agreed.
This is part of the reason why both Alderweireld and Rose could be seen as dispensable. The Belgian defender is a world class centre-half, however he’s had his injury struggles and has just celebrated his 29th birthday.
Davinson Sanchez’s arrival has given supporters a glimpse into the team’s future, the Colombian defender has settled instantly and will likely form the basis of the defensive line for future seasons. Juan Foyth is also a promising talent himself, Alderweireld can be considered sellable for a good price with the club not needing to commit a sizable new salary for the Belgian.
Spurs’ policy of buying young talent is beneficial in two ways, they often aren’t as expensive as signing fully-developed stars and there is also the additional financial benefit of being able to sell them at a significant profit somewhere down the line.
Sessegnon would fit into both of those categories with Fulham likely to ask for between £30-40 million, although this could change if the club are promoted back into the top flight this season.
Manchester United and Liverpool have both been linked with a move for the Championship star, however it’s difficult to make a case for Sessegnon being able to develop at either of those clubs.
Liverpool have found a solution at left back in the form of Andrew Robertson, whilst there wouldn’t be a place in attack given the level of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Sessegnon’s next move in crucial, he must continue to feature regularly and develop, there’s very few teams at the top end of the Premier League where that can be a reality for him.
This is why Spurs are so unique, they are fighting at the top end of the division and are competing in the Champions League, yet you still feel as though Sessegnon’s development won’t be stunted in any way by the move.
It’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen in the summer, however it’s clear that Tottenham are preparing for a significant amount of change within their squad. In making their interest in Sessegnon known early they’ve stolen a march on their competition and could be set to benefit for years to come.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @cmwinterburn
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