Spurs transfer window shakeup: all change in the House of Conte
There was a time—not too long ago, in fact—when a good portion of Spurs fans thought that a dynamic central midfield pairing of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso was going to be the future of the North London club.
I don’t absolve myself from that line of thinking, either. I distinctly remember messaging a fellow Spurs fan after Ndombele’s mesmerising performance against Chelsea last year, that the Frenchman was the best midfielder in the League—with only slight timbres of irony and the smallest lick of club bias. He was a genuine phenomenon that evening, and, allied with Lo Celso’s potential for craft and defence-splitting creativity, it looked like a dream combination.
But now they’ve both been sent out on loan and I don’t know what to think anymore. Football often forces us to cling desperately to long-held notions, particularly for players associated with your club. No matter how many puzzling, languid performances, and sulking strop-offs against lower league opposition, we hold onto the belief that he just needs time.
It’s a similar mindset for those fans still wedded to the idea that Dele Alli will come good again—which he still might, of course. Three years of injuries and a catastrophic nosedive in form, which has seen the midfielder lose his England place and the shine fully dulled on his dazzling star quality that we might find at casinos online, and still, we refuse to believe the dream is over.
I guess it takes someone as single-minded and determined as Antonio Conte, who isn’t intoxicated by the nostalgia of past events, and, importantly, sees him every day in training, to make the difficult but necessary decision. Dele Alli has left Tottenham and one of the few remaining strands of Pochettino’s vintage-era DNA has been extracted. Just Kane, Son, Dier, and Lloris left now—from that team photo from 2107 that gets Spurs fans giddy when it does its rounds on Twitter, usually with the caption ‘How do I explain to my grandchildren that this team didn’t win a trophy?’
And now different times.
The big news is that Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur have joined from Juventus which certainly will add some midfield firepower and dynamism to Tottenham’s midfield. A good job really seeing as half the squad has been loaned out to Europe. Bryan Gil was shipped out to Valencia while, as previously mentioned, Ndombele and GLC made their moves to Villarreal and Lyon respectively. The situation could’ve looked even more sparse had reports of Steven Bergwijn’s departure to Ajax come to pass.
No right-wing back upgrade, which I’m sure will irk Conte—a position he was clearly looking to improve with his approach for Adama Traore. Conte is something of a wing-back whisperer, though, as seen with Victor Moses at Chelsea, so perhaps all is not lost with Matt Doherty.
Time, as so often it does, will tell.