Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t appear to trust the entire squad at his disposal. Since the turn of the year, he has tended to pick from a select portion for Premier League fixtures, excluding a significant number of his squad from his selections. Veteran players accustomed to big roles at the club have been frozen out. Most notably club captain Younes Kaboul has been a ghost and usual first team mainstay Aaron Lennon was allowed to leave for Everton on loan in January.
It seems obvious which players will be shifted on in the summer, leaving holes that will need to be filled with those that can adopt Pochettino’s methods. It would lead to a much needed shake up. Those footballers who Pochettino has left out of his plans, some of which he trusted starting spots to initially, have not been playing for good reason.
They are either not good enough for Spurs’ standards, they don’t work hard enough on the pitch or they just don’t fit into the Argentine’s system. In some cases it’s a combination of the three. They have been given cameo roles in cup games or a spot on the bench but in those instances they simply justified their gaffer’s actions.
In terms of forward, both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado should be shifted on. On his day Adebayor is one of the most complete forwards in the league but he hasn’t had one of those days for a while. His lackadaisical and sluggish attitude on the pitch completely kills the high intensity approach his teammates need to strive towards in this new system.
As popular as Soldado may be, he just cannot put the ball into the back of the net and for a striker, that’s all that matters. His confidence looks completely shot and a change of scenery would be most welcome for both parties. A move back to Spain seems likely.
The midfielders that should be deemed surplus to requirements include Aaron Lennon, Etienne Capoue and Paulinho. Lennon has already made a January loan move to Everton and it seems unlikely he will come back. His lack of significant skill on the ball or any real end product obviously doesn’t endear him to Pochettino. There shouldn’t be a lack of suitors for his services from Premier League clubs however.
While Capoue made solid starts to his two seasons at Tottenham, there doesn’t seem to space for the Frenchman at the club. His lack of pace, lazy demeanor and inability to track runners from midfield doesn’t make him a good fit for Pochettino’s style. He is a player capable of producing quality as an enforcer, but it just isn’t working for him at White Hart Lane.
Paulinho came to North London with a big reputation and a hefty price tag following a very successful showing at the 2013 Confederations Cup. Compared by some to Frank Lampard, the Brazilian was supposed to be a box-to-box presence, cover every blade of grass but do so with that Samba flair filled tricks and flicks. He has failed to live up to the hype, often disappearing whenever he is needed on the pitch.
Younes Kaboul and Vlad Chiricheș are two defensive players that Spurs need to get off the books. Fullback Kyle Naughton was sold to Swansea in January, and it would be surprising if Kaboul and Chiricheș didn’t follow suit in the summer. Both looked like disasters waiting to happen every time they stepped on the pitch this season. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before they made a mistake that lead to a goal.
For Chiricheș it will be seen as a disappointing venture into English football but it is sad to see how far Kaboul, club captain no less, has fallen in just a few seasons.
It is clear to see Spurs’ squad will need a boost of quality in the summer and it is vital they move on players that don’t fit with Pochettino’s ethos. If these seven players are shifted on, there will be holes in the squad to plug and it will be telling whether they are filled by some of the exciting young talents Tottenham has out on loan. It might be easy to spot the players that need to go, but it will be harder to know which players should come in. It is vital Pochettino and his staff are trusted to make those decisions. It could be the most important summer transfer window for the club in years.
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