Tottenham Hotspur enjoyed an invaluable pause in the relentless action last weekend in what has been described as an ‘open week’ for Ange Postecoglou’s players, who have taken their foot off the gas to recalibrate amid the push for top four.
The break has also provided the perfect opportunity for new signings Radu Dragusin and Timo Werner to integrate with the squad ahead of a crucial few months.
Spurs could instantly unlock Werner with move for £30m goal “machine”
This player would surely complete Ange Postecoglou’s ever-improving squad.
While Postecoglou acted fast to maximise the January transfer window and combat the lack of depth in his talented team, there remains room for a new centre-midfielder, and this is the club’s target heading into the last stretch of the market.
Spurs eyeing Conor Gallagher alternative
Conor Gallagher remains the No. 1 target for transfer in midfield this month but it’s unlikely that Chelsea will allow the £50m-rated machine to depart at the term’s midpoint and Postecoglou is wise to search for alternatives.
As such, transfer insider Dean Jones believes that Blackburn Rovers teenager Adam Wharton could be the player to join the ranks down N17, with the Championship side likely to be swayed by a bid of £10m; Spurs are now considering making such an offer.
However, with Crystal Palace, Everton and Newcastle United also interested, Tottenham will need to move swiftly.
How Mousa Dembele compares to Adam Wharton
Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma are both on international duty at the African Cup of Nations this month and with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg linked with a move away, there does appear to be room for a talent of Wharton’s ability.
The 19-year-old has been a mainstay for Rovers this season after earning dotted opportunities last season, starting 22 league matches this term, clinching two goals and three assists, completing 85% of his passes and succeeding with 68% of his dribbles and averaging 2.3 tackles and 5.5 ball recoveries per game, as per Sofascore.
Adam Wharton: Key Characteristics
Developing nicely, Wharton already ranks among the top 20% of midfielders across divisions similar to the Championship for progressive passes and the top 16% for interceptions per 90, as per FBref, highlighting a blooming roundedness that will only work in his favour as Tottenham assess his suitability.
Wharton has even been predicted to be a “Champions League level” calibre prospect by his manager, Jon Dahl Tomasson, and a place in Spurs’ system could help him realise this goal.
Given his dynamic, multi-purpose style in the centre of the park, Lilywhites chairman Daniel Levy could get his mitts on the next version of Mousa Dembele by sealing a transfer this month.
Once described as the “best in the world” by fellow Belgian Kevin De Bruyne, Dembele was immense for Tottenham across his 249 appearances, only scoring ten times but producing some masterful performances in the engine room, adept in his industrious defensive duties, slick and seamless in his progressive, penetrative surges into the danger area.
The 2015/16 Premier League season perhaps typified his quality at Tottenham, with the (now) 36-year-old posting three goals and an assist across 29 fixtures, completing 90% of his passes, averaging 1.0 key passes, 1.9 interceptions and 3.6 tackles per game.
Remarkably, he also completed 2.9 dribbles at a success rate of 92% and won 8.6 ground duels per game at 63%.
Honestly, these metrics, evenly spread like butter on an artisan sandwich, are not easily replicated and there are probably only a select few players of the same build to produce similar results in the English top-flight over recent years.
Wharton, while young, has the trappings of such a style and he could be the perfect addition to Postecoglou’s project, with the Australian manager boasting the sage acumen to bring the very best out of him.
Hailed for his “complete” skill set by talent scout Jacek Kulig, Wharton is a really exciting player with so much still to come, and there is a growing sense that he will be thriving in the Premier League sooner rather than later.
Tottenham just need to ensure that his ‘complete’ style, not too dissimilar to Dembele’s all-round package, is honed and guided under Postecoglou’s wing.