The rivalry between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea has intensified in recent years amid Tottenham’s rise into the Premier League elite, and the two sides are set to lock horns once again this weekend at Wembley.
It’s the headline fixture of the weekend and one which could provide strong indications into the extent of the title credentials of both clubs, so it’s a perfect time to assess two players who could influence the result on Saturday evening.
The London rivals have engaged in feisty battles on the field of play in recent years, particularly in 2016 when Tottenham threw away a 2 goal lead in a fixture which has since been coined ‘the Battle of the Bridge’, but they have also engaged in a transfer battle away from the field more recently.
The battle in question was the race for Ross Barkley’s signature, which Chelsea ultimately won after Mauricio Pochettino decided against a move for the England international, according to Football.London.
In hindsight that was a foolish move from the Argentine, but Daniel Levy’s willingness to finance a deal for Lucas Moura in the same month ensured that his blushes have been spared.
Here’s how the two players compare…
Pochettino’s decision to avoid a move for Barkley, despite his reasonable asking price of just £15 million, was vindictated during the early stages of his career at Stamford Bridge.
However, the arrival of Maurizio Sarri has transformed Barkley into an unrecognisable talent.
Cutting a leaner and more athletic physique, Barkley has begun to deliver on the promise he demonstrated when breaking through the ranks at Everton, and his exponential rise in recent months suggests that Chelsea pulled off a masterstroke earlier this year.
When Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for the World Cup Barkley barely even represented an outside contender, but his performances in Chelsea blue have allowed him to re-establish himself as a regular at international level.
That Barkley started England’s crucial Nations League fixtures against Spain and Croatia speaks volumes about the enormity and suddenness of his improvement.
TT grade: A
After deciding to turn down the opportunity to sign Barkley Tottenham moved into the market to sign Lucas Moura.
After being exiled at PSG it was difficult for Moura to initially prove his fitness to Pochettino, but cameo appearances hinted at a glowing future in north London which he has now come to realise.
Offering a dynamic approach with the ball at his feet and plenty of incisive moment off the ball, Moura has justified Levy’s decision to part with £23 million to secure the Brazilian’s services.
A brace against Manchester United earlier this season proved that he is the man for the big occasion, and that notion could yet manifest itself against Chelsea this weekend.
TT Grade: A
While Spurs supporters will be inclined to look back on their decision to ignore Barkley when a bargain deal was staring them in the face, it’s fair to say that they completed a deal for an impressive alternative.
Moura may well have cost £8 million more, but the extent of his impact since joining the club suggests he was an excellent value for money signing, regardless of how much Barkley cost.
Perhaps the only slight edge Barkley has over Moura is his nationality as he would have counted towards Tottenham’s homegrown quota of English players.
But aside from that minor advantage there is nothing to split two exceptionally gifted players, who possess the individual quality to be match-winners on their day.
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