Sell 'em, sell 'em all!
Eleven players supposedly up for grabs, just days before the start of the season. This, according to The Telegraph. The eleven?
Andros Townsend, Aaron Lennon, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Sandro, Etienne Capoue, Mousa Dembele, Michael Dawson, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Kyle Naughton and Vlad Chiriches.
How is this even viable? Okay, so Poch said the squad needed trimming, but this is akin to sticking a stick of dynamite into the dressing room. Out of the eleven, the following are certainties to leave:
Assou-Ekotto (who has better things to do like mowing his lawn).
That's it. The others all have to prove themselves regardless of any rumours suggesting their fates have already been sealed.
Dawson has defeated a move away from Spurs for two seasons now, but if Musacchio signs (he probably won't) you'd think he'd need to finally give in and accept the warmth of a new club rather than watch the game from the bench.
I can't see any of the rest leaving for the time being. Not until we get to see how good they are for under the wing of the new coach. There will be blood, no doubting that. One or two will be sold on eventually. All the Telepgraph has done is point out the easy targets. So what of them?
Andros Townsend - A talent but more pace than precision and a scapegoat for the pessimists that do love to give up and disconnect from displaying loyalty to a young player. If Pochettino is able to nurture Townsend and improve his decision making, we'll have a weapon. If.
Aaron Lennon - Here's a player that was once upon a time what we hope Townsend might be. Remember him running at the opposing defenders from the half way line towards their pen area? Remember the excitement? The electricity? Remember also saying 'one day he'll get it right when it comes to shooting/passing'? The problem with Lennon is that he didn't quite fulfil his potential even if he improved defensively and worked hard for the team, it appears we never quite got the best out of him and he failed to get the best out of himself. He's a long standing member of the squad, experienced and yet still we beg the question: Can he prove himself this season?
Roberto Soldado - Scored goals in La Liga. Scuffs at efforts in the Prem. Cost a bundle and it might be the case that he simply doesn't fit the system and tempo. Might be that the confidence to achieve success here was lost in amongst the phantom tactics of AVB's dysfunctional system. He'll have to outshine Adebayor to retain a place in the starting line-up. We've not looked to sell him and we haven't gone anywhere near signing another striker, so last seasons captures have this season to prove themselves. The pressure on Soldado will make or break him. Early season goals or else it's gonna end in tears.
Nacer Chadli - His best form was central and not out wide. The perfect illustration of just how wrong we got last summer's spending. Chadli, like the others that arrived, we're never utilised in their best positions and thanks to elevated expectancy and the almost desperate attempt to tweak and get things going, he turned into another boy lost in the land of men.
Sandro - Injured and returning to full fitness. Sandro gets dogs abuse from some that he is over compensating on social media to make up for the lack of appearances on the pitch. Not relevant although I understand the sentiment that he should focus totally on reclaiming past form and leave the guitar playing antics alone. But even if he was playing he'd still do the social media. That's him. The only relevant question is if he's injury prone. It's also easy to forget that the last one he got was serious, so allow him the time to find his level again. Easily our best midfielder (in terms of spine for the rest of the team). Why do we persist with scapegoating so many of our players, especially those with a personality? I guess it's hipster to be miserable.
Etienne Capoue - Injury hit also during the last season. Issues with Tim Sherwood (like most in the squad). Has to prove he has more to offer than Bentelab but unless he's done something beyond repair during training, I can't see why we'd cut our losses this soon.
Mousa Dembele - Has so much to give yet gives so little. Is it because he doesn't have a sharp mind or are we attempting to use him like a blunt razor shaving a five day stubble? He's so much better going forward yet spends so much time in deeper roles. Gets criticised as nobody can quite work out what he's doing and then when he doesn't play, we feel the impact with the resulting imbalance in midfield. Okay, so I've generalised a lot here. Dembele never quite releases the ball when he should when getting forward and he's involved in a lot of the less than glamorous work in the middle - but with the central part of our squad looking congested he has give a far more rounded role to the team.
Michael Dawson - Has his qualities, especially in terms of vocal leadership, and can perform admirable against certain types of opposition but Daws is a player that you love to love because he wears his heart on his sleeve but that doesn't necessarily mean he's the player you'd love to select as first choice.
Kyle Naughton - Left back. Right back. Loaned out. Always linked with a move away. Will never be great, can sometimes be average. Not to the level we need but then what level is Naughton meant to be at when it comes to squad role? Backup? In that case, is he a good enough back up? Might start, probably will, as Walker is injured. The backups actually need to be prospects or good enough to take the first team role if called upon.
Vlad Chiriches - Only just got here. Can play football. Fits into the mould of a Vertonghen in terms of bringing the ball out. Ridiculous to link him with a move as part of the 'surplus to requirements' Telegraph story.
Surprised Lewis Holtby wasn't in the list as he's usually the easy target for everyone and yet another illustration of 'buying young talent for the sake of sell-on value rather than signing someone that fits into the coaches plans and formations'. This isn't a criticism of Holtby. Since he's earlier than planned arrival we have used him for a variety of roles in the side, for the most part, utilising his energy rather than seeking to control it and request a more composed and intelligent game. He can do that, I've seen it with my own eyes for both Spurs and the U21 German side. Yet he always looks like a frenzied mad man for us.
I like him, he's another one with passion but we have to make sure this does not end up compensating for lack of a definitive responsibility. He loves the one touch, pushing the ball forward and running into space so rather than having him in deep positions, let's see if he can do something central. If he's not good enough, we'll know in time - but like most of the 'scapegoats' it's unfair to give up on them when the blame usually sits with the ones managing the team. Pochettino to the rescue?
So, all safe for now until we sign players that are in direct competition for their position. If we genuinely don't have any money and need money to buy those new players, then well done Pochettino for accepting a job with an impossibly stupid business model.