Tottenham’s transfer priorities – ranked
The 2022/23 season hasn’t been the one Tottenham fans had been hoping for to this point.
Sure, Spurs still sit in the top four and they’re into the last 16 of the Champions League, but they haven’t quite kicked on as expected (which is a real kick in the teeth when Arsenal have instead).
Where Tottenham were a brilliant watch and the Premier League’s top scorers in 2022 come August, their attacking intensity has seriously waned, the flaws of a thin squad with a huge gap between the ceiling and floor increasingly evident.
There are many positions which need strengthening and a couple of major contract decisions to sort. Here’s how we think Spurs should prioritise them.
Who are the truly creative midfielders that have played for Tottenham in the last decade or so? Luka Modric, Christian Eriksen, and to an extent, Tanguy Ndombele. That’s the list.
Spurs have never been about playing intricate possession-hogging football, but if they’re to play on the front foot again for more than 45 minutes at a time, the technical levels need raising.
Just why they passed on the chance to re-sign Eriksen in the summer on a free transfer is a mystery, but he would’ve undoubtedly improved their current situation.
The big problem now for Spurs is there are few other options available on the market (for this window at least). Someone like James Maddison would fit the bill and make a lot of sense but Leicester are unlikely to sanction a sale yet unless the offer is eye-watering.
The good news for Tottenham fans is this looks like an issue that is going to be addressed in January, with the likes of Pedro Porro, Denzel Dumfries and Adama Traore under consideration.
Antonio Conte’s system is far less effective if it doesn’t have wing-backs who act like wingers. Ivan Perisic has done a decent job, but Emerson Royal has continued to be a liability on the opposite flank.
At this point, it’s clear that the shunning of Djed Spence is a clear message from Conte – bring me a wing-back that’s ready to help contend for titles now.
Conte is capable of making average players look functional, but even he can’t make Japhet Tanganga, Eric Dier and Clement Lenglet all look good together (sorry Clement, this is just how Spurs lined up against Brentford, nothing personal to you).
After missing out on Alessandro Bastoni in the summer, Spurs did little to find a suitable backup option. Lenglet’s dry loan has actually turned out well, but even then he’s not a leading centre-back.
New world champion Cristian Romero remains an unreliable fitness bet and Tottenham need another senior option to rely on to lead their backline.
Whether Conte is staying or going, Spurs need to decide soon.
The Italian is out of contract at the end of the season and has largely been cryptic with voicing his frustration at the club’s transfer policy (apart from when it came to the Spence signing, in which he clearly pointed out the recruitment team led the way with that one).
Tottenham aren’t big enough (or good enough right now) to simultaneously rebuild and contend in equal measure. They need to commit to one end of the spectrum – and that will ultimately mean sticking with Conte or preparing to move on.
But tying Harry Kane down to a new contract is the most important task on Daniel Levy’s agenda.
He is Tottenham. He is the subject of major questions in every press conference. He is the face on the posters for Spurs, England and the Premier League. In a few weeks, he’ll be the club’s all-time leading scorer.
Now a multi-dimensional forward who makes other attackers better – one of the very best players in world football – Tottenham can’t afford to head into next season with Kane in the final year of his contract.
They won’t find another superstar willing to join them, a player with the pull and lure that he brings alone. Spurs’ reputation plateaus without Kane and they would be forced into rebuilding over contending at all.
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Arsenal pre-season 2023/24: Fixtures and schedule
Having reached new heights in the Premier League in 2022/23, Arsenal will soon be beginning their preparations for the new campaign with a pre-season tour to get ready for 2023/24.
Preparations for last season took place in Germany for Arsenal but with the Covid-19 pandemic a bit more of a distant memory for many, it is expected that more teams will be heading further afield again to either the United States of America or Asia.
Arsenal are yet to announce a full training camp location for their pre-season but they do have one fixture already confirmed which drops a big clue.
The Gunners are going to be coming up against an MLS All-Star team in Washington D.C. which will be coached by Manchester United and England legend Wayne Rooney. That takes place on July 19 and it is hard to imagine that Arsenal will only play one game in America.
A semi-regular fixture of Arsenal’s pre-seasons in recent years has been the Emirates Cup, but there has not been any word on whether an edition of that will be taking place or not this summer. If there is, then Arsenal could be splitting their time between America and London.
All times BST.
As is the case for almost every big club in football now, all of Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies are expected to be televised live on Arsenal.com and their official app with a subscription.
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