Our Current Players: The Midfield.
Following on from Friday`s look at our current defenders, today its the turn of our many midfielders. Like yesterday, I am splitting it into central, attacking and wide players, but I`m not sure this bunch is a clear cut as our defence might be.
If I start with the central players, do we have to pigeon hole them as defensive, offensive or a bit of both? Does todays game at the top level, show you either need to be truly outstanding at one aspect or to be able to contribute to a good level, all disciplines of the game? Today I believe we have become obsessed with DCM, ACM or any other shortening, whilst formations make for very interesting reading, yet we ignore that fluidity is essential.
Sandro: Everyone, loves Sandro! Ass kicking, guitar and darts playing Beast of a player, but for me, he was someone that didn`t perform to standard last season. Was that him struggling for fitness and momentum following his long absence with his knee injury or has he just slipped in terms of his quality and others are just better? Based on this season, I would suggest a bit of both. Does he have the best football brain? does he have the all round game and what exactly is that game? For me he doesn`t always play a sitting role, but an enforcing one. in terms of reading the game, Scott Parker was better, and as an alrounder, Paulinho, Capoue and dare I suggest Livermore are at least as good and perhaps better. With a summers rest and a good pre season, I still hope he comes back to his best, but equally, if we retain the likes of Capoue, he might be considered worth selling if the price is right.
Capoue: Hardly a good first season. A mix of injury and perhaps a poor attitude at times, were never going to help, but if he returns, fully fit and prepared to work hard, we do have a very good player and one that has a mores complete game and more polish that any other "DCM" I assume that Pochettino wants players that have a touch and are able to pass and he has everything about his game to flourish in the Prem under a manager that likes to pressure the ball and also retain possession. If his attitude is right, he could be a great players this season.
Dembele: To be honest, I really have no clue about him. Does he really have the hunger and fight? Does he have that willingness to chase the ball for 90+ minutes and does he have the fitness to do it? You always get the feeling that Mousa is going through that emotions and based on that, do we believe he is a player to embrace a manager with a hard work ethos. Poch could just be the making of Dembele, but his arrival could also quickly spell the end of his time with the club.
Paulinho: Chelsea`s replacement for Lampard? Again, I suppose it really depends on his attitude. You know he is a very good player, but does he really want to be at Europa league based Spurs or does he seem himself as a bigger fish. Again we can consider last season as one for bedding in, but with yet another summer of football and little break (bar injuries) in the last couple of years, I don`t see Paulinho wanting to hang around and play for Spurs. As someone who will still have plenty of time on his contract and others likely to want out, he may be forced to stay unless Chelsea or someone make a £30m+ offer and I can actually see him doing really well at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps deal to bring Lukaku to WHL would appease everyone and allow Levy and Baldini to save face.
Benteleb: Will a good World cup elevate Nabil in the game? Why do I have a feeling that he will be a stand out player next season and we will constantly hear our fans saying; " I always said he was a great player!" Now Benteleb does have the all round game and ability to play at tempo for 90 mins that one or two others haven`t got. Of course he is a little raw, naive in certain situations, but lets not forget his tender years and lack of playing time. It will be interesting to see if Poch likes him and also how he would look to play him. Nabil isn`t a DCM or ACM as such, but does have that game to suit any situation. Will he be a youngster that Poch adds polish to?
Livermore: I assume that he will be sold to whoever offers the money. Jake seems to want to go and if everyone stays, you don`t really see a place for him. In his favour, he is a Spurs fan, is English and therefore homegrown and has also had a better season for Hull that perhaps any of the central Spurs players. Would he be persuaded to stay if Poch wanted him? I have a feeling he might, just as long as he was considered an integral part of the squad.
Carroll: Sure he has great vision and some silky skills, but does he have the game for 30 plus Prem games a season? Does he have the physicality and true quality to demand anything other than a squad place? Expecting him to be the new Modric is far fetched for me, but does he warrant a pre season and see what happens? There is a part of me that gets annoyed at the praise he gets, whilst others get stick, but in saying that, he does look a very decent player, but I`m still not convinced he will be a major player next season and perhaps another season on loan, hopefully in the Prem will be the making of him.
Holtby: Another player to divide opinion, but has his time at Fulham answered any questions? I` honestly not sure. Is his high tempo, all energy game good for Poch" Perhaps in the Steven Davies role? One problem Lewis has, is that he isn`t quite a No6 or a No10 and in reality others are better in both roles. Can he stay and fight for his place or force himself in over someone? I would suggest its a little less than 50/50 against it happening. I really like him as a player, but you feel that at least one of him of Gylfi will be sold and perhaps both is we bring in the likes of Lallana.
Sigurdsson: I loved him at Reading and Swansea, but he has never quite found his spot at Spurs. Not a play-maker, not a central or wide man, so what is he? Again, he has the technical game and footballing work-rate and intelligence to be a player that could shine under Pochettino, but does there also come a time when he and the club decide he is better to move on. I would suggest that like a few more, this summers pre season is make or break, and I have no clue which one.
Eriksen: Our best outfield player last year by some margin and you hope with that experience, confidence gained and perhaps a bit more bulk on the bones, he will be even better and able to dictate games even more. Can he play with Lallana? I think he could in a 4-2-3-1 for example. Both have real intelligence and are able to play right across the pitch. Eriksen is perhaps the one player that would devastate the fans to see leave or not to kick on under the new regime. I have a feeling that this will be another great season for the Dane and he might well really enjoy the way we look to play.
Chadli: Played wide, off the striker and in a deeper midfield role. Has he been anything over a 6.5/10? That isn`t a negative, but is he anything other than a willing squad player based on war we have seen so far. Very highly rated in Holland and of course Belgium, he is perhaps a better players that we give him credit for and he is yet another one that Poch might look at and really look forward to working with him.
Lennon: Sorry, but is it time to sell Aaron? He is just too one dimensional for me and doesn`t have the versatility of others, doesn`t score or create enough goals or even terror for the opposition anymore and unless she is juggling the right touchline, he is not much more than a willing worker. Can Poch add what others have failed to do? Does Poch even really like out and out wide men? I suppose we will find out, soon enough.
Townsend: I really like Andros. Yes its difficult to argue against his impulsiveness, perceived lack of thought and maybe team ethic, but when he is full of confidence and maybe feeling wanted, he is a match winner. Could he be a great impact player or with a feeling that his manager truly believed in him, he would settle down more. I also wonder what his reaction will have been to missing out on the WC? Will it give him time to reflect. add hunger to his game? You certainly hope he trains well before pre season and really makes an impression when he returns.
Lamela: Erik Who? Of course we have a player with a year in the country, a summer to get 100% fit and a manager that literally speaks his language. Do we really know whether he wants to leave Spurs and England or is he determined to prove himself here and the doubters wrong? You would like to think that the very best players like to prove a point and I hope he sticks around and also sticks two fingers up at those that doubted him. Can we imagine him for example in a three with Eriksen and Lallana behind the striker?
So I think that just about covers the midfield players of all dimensions. What do you think and who will or won`t be the ones to really embrace and flourish under the new regime?