Three players Spurs MUST keep this summer

We’re now just three games away from the end of what has been a very unexpected season on almost all levels. A season where at the end of April, Spurs still have a mathematical – albeit extremely unlikely – chance of winning the league.

Article by Nathan Flint @nathflint

After the disappointment of Monday night I’ve struggled to find something to write about this week. I’m desperately trying not give in to the faintest of hopes that the impossible could yet happen and still remain positive.

So with a reluctant eye on next season, and the hope of a renewed title challenge I started to think about the players we need to keep this summer. To make a challenge of it I decided not to include the two players who have arguably been the best (and are unanimously considered indispensable) this year, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.

Danny Rose

Part of the PFA team of the year, it’s fair to say that 2015/16 has been a breakthrough season for Danny Rose. It’s quite unbelievable that Rose was signed almost nine years ago yet he’s only 25. It’s taken a long time for the promise that convinced Spurs to part with a million pounds for a 17-year old to reach its potential.

After exploding onto the scene with a wondergoal against Arsenal on his league debut, Rose’s career stalled slightly with the left-back sent out on loan to Bristol City and Sunderland either side of a poor season back at Spurs. Fast forward a couple of years and Rose is now Spurs’ first choice left-back despite strong competition from Welsh international Ben Davies.

A quarter of the Premier League’s tightest defence, Rose’s inclusion in the team of the year is no fluke. A consistent season has seen the full-back prove to be a capable defender – he averages 2.9 tackles per game in the Premier League – more than any other Spurs player except Mousa Dembele.

His ability going forward has always been his strength. He provides width to stretch the play for our creative players to have an impact in the middle of the park, and the pace that helps make Spurs devastating on the counter. This season he’s added some defensive steel, and his PFA Team of the year inclusion justifies his current status at Spurs.

Mousa Dembele

Recently described by international team-mate Kevin De Bruyne as ‘one of the best players in the world’, Mousa Dembele is another player who seems to have realised his potential this season. When the Belgian arrived at White Hart Lane in 2012, Spurs fans were expecting the same combative midfielder who has impressed so much at Fulham.

Since then, Dembele has seen three managers in four years, which might explain the indifferent form and limited impact the Belgian has had – up until now. This season, Dembele has been vital to Spurs’ title challenge with his strength on the ball making him almost impossible to dispossess.

All season, we have seen the Dembele we all thought we were signing from Fulham four years ago. He consistently bosses the midfield, drifting past players and squirming out of difficult situations – an attribute which has become something of a trademark for the Belgian. He makes more tackles than any other player in the Spurs team and is fourth in terms of interceptions. His pass success rate of 89.9% is second only to Michel Vorm.

All those stats paint a picture of the perfect midfielder, yet there is arguably one flaw in Dembele’s game – goals. A common criticism is his lack of goals and assists. He has improved this season with 3 league goals compared to just one in each of his last three seasons but only registered his first assist this season in last Monday’s win at Stoke. If he can add assists to his game next season then it would be fair to say that De Bruyne’s comments this week weren’t too far off the mark.

Toby Alderweireld

For me, Toby Alderweireld has been Spurs’ best player this season. Forget Kane and his goals, forget Alli and his dynamism – Alderweireld has been the foundation for everything good about Spurs this year.

He has marshalled a defence that was one of the leakiest in the league in recent seasons to what is now the tightest in the league. Renewing an old partnership with Jan Vertonghen, the Belgian has been the missing piece in Spurs’ jigsaw.

He rarely makes a mistake, (only the foul for a penalty at home against Stoke back in August comes to mind) has excellent positioning and possesses a long pass that would be the envy of most midfielders. The Belgian is also a threat from set-pieces with a number of headed goals from corners and free-kicks. A return of four goals and two assists ranks him higher than Mousa Dembele on that front. In fact, his goal involvement is only bettered by Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela.

The most impressive thing about Alderweireld is that he has made an instant impact at the club. No ‘settling-in’ time, no teething problems – he just hit the ground running. For me, it’s an indication of the quality of player he is. I truly believe he could play for any team in the world. He’s a player we are lucky to have in our ranks, and the impact of losing him would be catastrophic.

After the season we’ve had I could have included most of the squad on this list. Honourable mention goes to Eric Dier who has been immense all season and in an unusual position. Others may argue that Hugo Lloris or Christian Eriksen should be on this list, while just last week I wrote about how Erik Lamela was undroppable. I’ve gone for the three players who I think have had the most impact, and whose loss would be felt greater than any others. Alli and Kane aside, of course.

What do you think? Do you agree with my choices? Would you have selected someone else in this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. I agree on Rose and Toby, but I would still put Eriksen in front of Dembele, the team just doesn't have the same flow and creativity when he is not on the pitch, something we have been looking for since VDV left.

  2. Anonymous10:23 am

    Nope, the entire first eleven must be kept..the others maybe...Poch must try to fortify by getting others as good as the first eleven...only Wimmer stands out..perfect replacement for Vertongnen...maybe Ben Davies also


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