New Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has a busy summer of rebuilding ahead and the focus will be on the back in the transfer window Tottenham Hotspur know they must fix a leaking defence as a priority for new head coach Ange Postecoglou in the summer transfer window.
Spurs conceded 63 goals in the Premier League last season, worse than all but five other teams in and around the bottom of the table. While Postecoglou’s sides defend high up the pitch with their aggressive, relentless pressing, he will also need a back line he can trust for when the opposition play around or over that front foot defending.
Only four Premier League teams scored more than Tottenham last season – mostly thanks to Harry Kane’s 30 goals accounting for almost half of their 70 – so the focus will mainly be on fixing the defence. That’s not to say Spurs are not looking for a new midfielder – namely James Maddison – and a young winger of which you can find details in part one of our look at the club’s summer transfer plans right here.
This part two is all about the defence and that starts with the man between the sticks as Tottenham finally have to replace long-time number one and captain Hugo Lloris.The 36-year-old publicly announced his desire to leave for a new challenge after 11 years in north London and, despite having a year left on his contract, the club are not expected to stand in his way as long as they can secure their long-term replacement for the Frenchman. football.london reported last December that the plan was always to bring in a long-term successor for Lloris this summer but now those plans have been stepped up to find a more immediate heir.
Brentford goalkeeper David Raya sits high among the candidates to be his successor. The 27-year-old is not only a fine shot stopper but has the ability with his feet to fit Postecoglou’s system, while his arrival in England at Blackburn Rovers as a 16-year-old means he is classed as homegrown.
READ MORE:James Maddison and Spurs’ plans to help transform Postecoglou’s midfield
The key aspects for a Postecoglou goalkeeper are someone who can get the ball rolling quickly, with little hesitation, in starting to build up possession from the back. You are unlikely to find one of the Australian’s keepers kicking the ball long and while Raya can still improve in some areas of his distribution under pressure, his passing and ability to play within a high line will help Tottenham squeeze the space the opposition have to work in.
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While Raya is said to be keen on a move to Tottenham, the north London club will not pay over the odds for a player in the final 12 months of his contract. Brentford are believed to be looking for £40million for the Spain international, while Spurs last summer paid an initial fee of £25million for Yves Bissouma who was in a similar contract situation at Brighton. The Bees have already signed Raya’s replacement in Mark Flekken.
Speaking to The Times last week whilst on international duty with Spain, Raya said: “I know there are rumours about me leaving. There are some options for me to go but obviously Brentford are asking for a lot of money. That could make clubs not want to buy me, it could make them look somewhere else, but if that’s the value they give me then it’s up to them. I have a year left on my contract and until then I’m a Brentford player, there’s nothing I can do.
“I have ambitions to make the next step in my career. I want to try to win titles and to compete in Europe in the next couple of years. I’m 27 now and I feel like I’m at the point in my career when I want to make that step up. There are options out there but it’s not just my ambitions, the club also needs to let me go.”
Manchester United are also said to be interested in Raya as well as England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, another player Spurs have monitored in recent years along with Dean Henderson as homegrown options as well as Brighton’s Robert Sanchez. Pickford signed a new four-year contract with Everton just four months ago so will not come cheap for any potential suitors.
Tottenham have alternatives for Raya as they seek someone for the long-term to replace Lloris.
football.london reported back in December that the club had identified 22-year-old Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili as a potential successor for the Frenchman. The Georgian, who has a contract until 2027, is being heavily linked with making the move away from the Mestalla this summer.
Spurs have also had a long-held interest in 27-year-old Milan keeper Mike Maignan, although both the Frenchman and Mamardashvili have reported values in excess of what it would cost Spurs to sign Raya.
Then there is the centre-back situation at Tottenham. The club’s biggest issue in the past two summers has been an inability to move defenders out of the door in order to realise plans to bring in two new centre-backs. Once again that is the aim this summer but there is an expectation that players will finally be moved on this time to create the space.
For the Postecoglou system, the club needs defenders who are brave on the ball, with a crisp short, sharp passing technique under pressure, strong in duels and in their marking with the mobility to play in a high line. They do not need to be lightning fast, but must have the anticipation and reading of the game required to deal with breaks and also be able to step up into midfield themselves as Spurs will squeeze that space available to the opposition.
Tottenham are understood to be looking for a couple of centre-backs who can play in both the left and right-sided roles in Postecoglou’s central duo. Depending on the options available in the market, it could be that the club bring in both an experienced and younger centre-back to supplement the Australian’s squad.
Once again much depends on who departs the club. Davinson Sanchez has been open to a move in recent windows in order to get regular first team football and with his contract now approaching its final 12 months, it seems a natural point for a parting of the ways between Spurs and their once record signing.
The 27-year-old has the pace to deal with Postecoglou’s high line but there have often been question marks about his passing under pressure and that could be exposed in the new head coach’s system.