The Tottenham fans in the Transfer Tavern have spent much of today drowning their sorrows after hearing word of a significant blow. According to the Evening Standard, Toby Alderweireld is set to be out until February, meaning that he’s going to miss what is arguably the most important period of the season over the next few weeks. It’s a massive problem for Spurs, and at least according to our landlord, it’s a blow that highlights the issues at Tottenham at present.
Losing a top player at any time of the season is a blow, but for Tottenham, this is particularly difficult to manoeuvre around. Alderweireld has become a near-constant under Mauricio Pochettino, and his departure from the first team – as it has over the last few weeks – will continue to be a major test of the Lilywhites’ credentials. It’s no real surprise that their form has dipped alongside his absence, and it will be no surprise to see that continue until February following this news.
Last season, the club were very fortunate. They had a set back-line, of which Alderweireld was a key part, and Pochettino was able to stick with it for much of the campaign. Now, though, he hasn’t got that luxury, and he’s instead got to call upon players that aren’t used to playing every single week, particularly in that position. Therein lies another problem, there simply isn’t enough options for Pochettino. Typically now using three central defenders for most games, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez are his only truly natural options in the position, and whilst Ben Davies and Eric Dier are comfortable there, that isn’t their natural role in this squad. What’s more, they’re also needed in other positions – left-back and central midfield respectively – and as a result of Tottenham’s defensive demands, the domino effect will certainly be at play.
Herein lies Pochettino’s major task, then. This injury has come at a bad time, but the January transfer window re-opens in a few weeks, and he needs to recognise this problem and make the most of the bad situation. He needs to spend well and invest freely in January, or it could really cost him. The fact that one starter not being available will cause such a problem for the club is proof that more depth is needed, and if Tottenham want to achieve long-term success, they need to ensure that this problem is solved.
Tottenham fans – thoughts?
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