Here we take a look at how Ange Postecoglou’s dream Tottenham midfield could line up come next season following his appointment as Spurs head coach
The arrival of Ange Postecoglou as Tottenham head coach means there will be a change of system ahead of the 2023/24 campaign. Previously operating 3-4-3 during Antonio Conte’s tenure as Spurs boss, interim head coach Ryan Mason did opt for both 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 in the final few weeks of the season.
There will be no question marks surrounding the setup Postecoglou opts for, however, as 4-3-3 is his formation of choice. Celtic enjoyed great success playing his way and the Australian helped the Scottish giants lift five trophies from a possible six, including the treble to round off two remarkable years in the east end of Glasgow.
Continuing with three in attack once again, Tottenham will have an extra body in midfield next season and it could bring them plenty of joy in the process. A key feature of Postecoglou’s midfield setup is that two of the midfielders are given licence to push upfield and offer support in attack, with the other midfielder keeping his position in the holding role as he is joined by the inverted full-backs coming inside.
As Celtic captain Callum McGregor was the midfielder who stayed put, this allowed players such as Reo Hatate, Aaron Mooy, David Turnbull and Matt O’Riley to get forward when they were operating in the more attack-minded midfield roles. The quartet really benefitted as a result and more than contributed in an attacking sense as they all registered impressive numbers.
Hatate was involved in 20 goals after chipping in with nine goals and 11 assists, Mooy (seven goals and 11 assists) and O’Riley (four goals and 14 assists) both had 18 goal involvements and Turnbull 12 following five goals and seven assists. Getting plenty out of his midfielders, the hope is that Tottenham’s midfielders will be able to have a similar impact under Postecoglou next season.
So what exactly could Postecoglou’s dream Tottenham midfield look like next season? football.london takes a look below.
READ MORE: Three Celtic players and transfer wildcard Ange Postecoglou could target in Tottenham masterplan
Bissouma to become a regular
It could be the 2023/24 season when Tottenham finally see the best of Yves Bissouma. Joining from Brighton & Hove Albion in a £25million deal that could potentially rise to more than £30million with various add-ons, the Mali international had a year to forget at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Restricted in terms of minutes with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur ahead of him in the pecking order, Bissouma also struggled with the tactical aspect of what Conte wanted from his midfielders. Then needing to go under the knife at the start of February to repair a stress fracture to his left ankle, it wasn’t until the final three games of the campaign when the 26-year-old returned to the pitch.
He did impress in game time against Aston Villa, Brentford and Leeds United, thus giving all Spurs fans a glimpse of what could come next term. Hojbjerg will be hopeful of taking on the defensive midfield role but he will face serious competition from Bissouma for it.
The arrival of Postecoglou could be the making of the ex-Brighton man, with Tottenham potentially set to see the Bissouma who wowed on a consistent basis at the Amex if he’s given a run in the team.
Bentancur excels on return
The 2022/23 campaign really could have panned out so differently for Tottenham had Bentancur not sustained a season-ending injury at Leicester City in February. Making a huge impact in his first few months at the club as he helped the team qualify for the Champions League following his permanent switch from Juventus, the Uruguayan continued to go from strength to strength in the first part of last season.
Not only a calm and composed presence in the middle of the park, the 25-year-old also had a huge impact in the final third after notching some key goals. Hitting six in total in 26 appearances, Bentancur scored a crucial one against Leicester in September that swung the game in Spurs’ favour after winning possession and going on a driving run, with other vital goals coming against Sporting CP, Bournemouth and a match-winning double vs Leeds United.
Now working his way back to fitness, Postecoglou and all at Tottenham will be hoping that the influential midfielder can make a swift return as he has a major role to play for the team going forward. Bentancur’s tally of six goals from last season could quite easily increase in 2023/24 as the new head coach’s system will see him push forward often and offer the attackers extra support.
Maddison forms dream midfield
Tottenham have been crying out for a creative midfielder for quite some time. In fact, since January 2020 to be precise following Christian Eriksen’s exit to Inter Milan.
It is a must in the summer transfer window, especially with two of the three midfielders in Postecoglou’s midfield expected to push forward and contribute with goals and assists on a regular basis. Leicester’s James Maddison appears to be the choice for many as an exit from the King Power Stadium looks a certainty following the Foxes’ relegation to the Championship.
However, Spurs won’t have it all their own way in their pursuit of the player who is valued at £47million by Transfermarkt. Newcastle United and Arsenal have both been linked with the England international, with the aforementioned teams able to offer the 26-year-old Champions League football, something Tottenham cannot after missing out on Europe altogether.
Hitting 10 goals and nine assists in a struggling Leicester team, with Maddison contributing 30 goal involvements the previous campaign, he really could flourish playing under Postecoglou. Another couple of players currently at Tottenham who could take on the role are Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso.
Both not part of Conte’s thinking last campaign and allowed to depart, a change in management could potentially see them come in from the cold. However, it has not worked out for either of the duo in their four years at Tottenham following their big-money moves and there is no guarantee the arrival of Postecoglou will totally transform the players for Spurs.
The Australian will take a look at all his squad in pre-season, though, and get his plans in place for the coming campaign. If they are not going to be in his plans, Spurs need to try and sell both permanently as both parties ideally just need to go their separate ways after four years.
Postecoglou’s dream Tottenham midfield: Bissouma, Bentancur, Maddison