Having missed out on the Premier League last season due to their slump at the end, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is keen to strengthen his squad in the summer, so that they can mound a proper title challenge next season along with a good showing the Champions League. When the Argentine manager arrived at White Hart lane, he made sure to cut off any player who was surplus to requirement, it made Spurs a leaner, more effective group. However the cost of that trimming down was the fact that Leicester City cantered to the title as Tottenham’s small squad and the gap between its first-team and its bench helped to give Claudio Ranieri a more comfortable run to the line.
The reaction to last season has already started taking shape, as Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed the signing Victor Wanyama from Southampton, with multiple reports pegging the transfer fee at £11 million. One of the main reasons why Tottenham were so successful last season was there extremely talented midfield trio of Eric Dier, Moussa Dembele and Dele Alli. But as good as the three are, the team didn’t have anyone nearly as good to replace them and really suffered whenever anyone of the three suffered an injury or needed a breather. That lack of depth was going to be exacerbated in the upcoming season, with Spurs playing in the Champions League.
Wanyama may seem like he has been around a while but he is only 24-years-old. His best years are ahead of him. He and Pochettino have a relationship going back to the manager’s time as the Southampton boss. Spurs tried to sign him a year ago, but the Saints refused to sell. However, with Wanyama’s contract at Southampton expiring next summer, it made more sense to sell him now for a profit than lose him next year for free. Wanyama has already played in the Champions League with Celtic, where he even got on the scoresheet against Barcelona and is the captain of his national team.
Wanyama will add a layer of depth to his new club’s weakest area. He’s typical of Tottenham’s recruitment strategy: young, years ahead of his prime, and with attributes which can be shaped to fit the existing structure. He represents a very versatile player, who is neither to focused on sitting back and defending like Dier, nor is he that offensively inclined that he might leave gaps at the back too, he will likely exist somewhere between the two. He is capable of replacing either one of the two, giving the team more diversity and depth.
Players like Tom Caroll and Ryan Mason are not only techinically inferior to the likes of Alli and Dembele but their presence in the middle also leads to dramatic drop in functionality in the midfield. They do not represent the skill set that is required by a midfielder who is a week in- week out starter. Wanyama’s arrival will provide solutions to those problem or atleast a different route, he will be competing for the starting spot from day one and will offer slight variation in the midfield that was absent last season.
Tottenham has a reputation for waiting until late in the transfer window to do their main business, but on the evidence of last season, it’s pretty clear that things are changing and so is their midfield, for the better.