Jose Mourinho is set to embark on his first full season at Tottenham Hotspur after joining in November. Mourinho – regarded as the ‘special one’ – couldn’t push Spurs into a Champions League spot. Settling for Europa League qualification, rising from 14th to 6th after replacing Mauricio Pochettino earlier in the season.
Spurs supporters were looking forward to a pre-season under Mourinho, but COVID-19 has hampered their plans. Forcing clubs in the Premier League to only have around three to four weeks to prepare. With the new season around the corner, we decided to look at how Spurs could possibly line-up on September 12th.
How will Spurs line-up next season
Chelsea and Manchester United supporters will be quick to say Mourinho tactics involve sitting back and keeping a solid defence. However, Spurs’ defence was leaking goals for fun, conceding 44 goals since his arrival in November, as Mourinho failed to find a confident back-four.
Although at the end of 2019/20 Premier League, Spurs became solid across the back, keeping four clean sheets in the final nine games. And Mourinho showed faith in Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier in these matches. So, I expect those two players to cement their place in the squad when the Premier League resumes, with Davinson Sanchez a reliable and decent back-up.
Centre-backs – Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld
One area in defence Spurs are likely to strengthen before the season starts is right-back. Serge Aurier is currently Spurs only recognised right-back but the Ivorian international could be set to join AC Milan in the coming days, according to The Times.
Mourinho could be left without any right-backs by September 12, and could be forced to start Japhet Tanganga. Surely Levy wouldn’t leave his manager sort in that area, with Europa League and domestic cups to also focus on. On the plus side, Spurs have been heavily linked with Timothy Castange and Zeki Celik to replace Serge Aurier. Atalanta’s Castange seems a likely candidate due to his contract situation.
Right-back – Timothy Castange
Left-back – Ben Davies
Mourinho and Levy have already done business in this area of the pitch, bringing in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton. Giovanni Lo Celso and other midfielders will now be allowed to roam forward, with Hojbjerg sitting defensively.
Hojbjerg and Lo Celso are the first two names on the teamsheet, with one more midfielder to occupy with them. Many hoped the arrival of the Danish international would leash the shackles of record-signing Tanguy Ndombele. But his future is still very uncertain and Inter Milan will return to talks after their Europa League campaign.
Despite rumours of Manchester City launching a £40m bid for Spurs’ midfield Harry Winks, the homegrown talent will stay in North London next season and have the opportunity play offensively. By September 12, Winks will partner Lo Celso with Hojbjerg sitting behind them.
Midfield – Pierre-Emelie Hojbjerg, Harry Winks and Giovanni Lo Celso
‘Depth’ is a consistent word used among Spurs supporters over the past couple of season. Especially struggling to have options available on the bench in their title-challenging seasons.
However, with the hectic schedule of seven games in September, Mourinho has several options in the middle of the park. If Spurs were to keep hold of Ndombele, then the Frenchman will occupy the bench, alongside England International Dele and fellow countrymen Moussa Sissoko. Three players who are capable to start every Premier League game and perfect options to use throughout the game.
Any Premier League defenders will be scare of Spurs’ attacking trio; consisting of Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane and Lucas Moura. January signing, Steven Bergwijn, had an instant impact at Spurs, scoring on his debut against Manchester City back in February. However, Mourinho announced in June that Bergwijn was club signing and not himself, explaining why the Netherlands international struggled for starts in project restart. Bergwijn is expected to get plenty of opportunities in Europa League and provides a perfect replacement for Son and Lucas.
Gareth Bale – Could Bale make a surprise return to Spurs – seven years after the Welshman left – as his future at Real Madrid seems to be over. The 31-year-old only featured twice in Madrid’s final twelve games across June and July. As his relationship with Zinedine Zidane looks to have finally broken.
I speak for the majority of Spurs fans in saying we would love to see the return of Gareth Bale in North London and in Lilywhite. On his day, Bale is one of the world’s best players in Europe and would evaluate Spurs’ attack to another level. With Jose Mourinho at the helm, who tried to sign Bale back in 2017 for Manchester United, would surely attract former Spurs player and his hateful relationship at Madrid could finally persuade Bale to return to the Premier League.
Callum Wilson – The Bournemouth striker has been heavily tipped to partner up with his fellow English international at Spurs. Wilson couldn’t prevent his current side from avoiding relegation to the Championship and is likely to follow Aaron Ramsdale and Nathan Ake out of the South Coast. The 28-year-old opportunities would fall in Europa League and domestic cups, plus could partner Kane in the starting eleven.
Spurs potential lineup
Hugo Lloris; Timothy Castange, Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies; Pierre-Emelie Hojbjerg, Harry Winks, Gio Lo Celso; Lucas Moura, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son