Most of Tottenham’s summer recruitment will likely be concentrated on strengthening the back half of the pitch, and rightly so.
According to Sky Sports, our transfer priorities are a right-back, centre-back, and holding midfielder. I’m sure goalkeeper and left-back aren’t far behind.
The other half of the pitch doesn’t need as urgent attention. Three of our best players operate as strikers, left-wing and No.10. The right-wing is the only attacking position we could improve on without breaking the bank, which we accept in the circumstances, is even more unlikely than usual.
Lucas Moura has been Jose Mourinho’s first choice on the right flank, with Erik Lamela making intermittent outings when his fitness has allowed. Steven Bergwijn was bought in January to provide competition across the front, but it is too early to say whether he is an improvement on what we have. The Dutchman is most comfortable on the left and will be used there to cover for Son Heung-min, or indirectly for Harry Kane when the South Korean is needed through the middle. But his best chance of establishing himself as a regular in the team is on the right.
So that is what we have; what about what we need? We have the numbers, we need greater quality or at least different qualities.
So what options are out there to offer this? We have been linked to both Willian and Ryan Fraser on free transfers, as Football London details. Selling Lamela for hopefully £15m-£20m [transfermarkt.com values him at £14.4m] and replacing him with Willian would make business sense, as well as give us a new type of weaponry from the flanks. The Brazilian’s crossing and dead-ball ability make him more rounded than our current options, and that should be enough for us to forgive any ill-will towards him.
Fraser has an excellent 14-assist campaign in 2018-19 but I don’t think he offers us anything on top of what Lucas or Bergwijn do. His Bournemouth team-mate David Brooks does, but would likely command a big fee even after dropping off the radar slightly during an injury-hit campaign.
Then, of course, there is the Gareth Bale fantasy, which the financial impact of Covid-19 should finally draw a line under, thankfully for our sanity.
The rumour-mill is otherwise quiet for wide options, such is the focus on defensive additions. So if it is Willian or nothing, I’m taking Willian.
Alternatively, is the future of Tottenham’s right-wing, no right-wing at all? To accommodate both Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso in midfield, one attacker must be sacrificed and it isn’t going to be Kane, Son, or Dele.
Could we line up like this – with Dele as a narrow right forward, playing close to Kane, and allowing the advanced right-back room to overlap?
What do you think of our right-wing options for next season?