Tottenham Hotspur

5 moves Tottenham need to make in the January transfer window

By Sean Walsh
Antonio Conte has stressed that the squad needs improving
Antonio Conte has stressed that the squad needs improving / Robin Jones/GettyImages
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After years of relative stability under Mauricio Pochettino (and a 2020 of chaos under Jose Mourinho), Spurs had a really weird 2021.

Mourinho was sacked, but Tottenham dawdled on his replacement. They thought they had Antonio Conte, and then they didn't. They thought Pochettino was coming back, and then he wasn't. Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso were moving to north London, and then they weren't.

The job fell to Nuno Espirito Santo, with managing director of football Fabio Paratici taking up his new rule overseeing first team operations. But that new marriage proved to be a sour one, with Nuno receiving his marching orders and Conte finally agreeing to take on the job in November.

So after a series of poor decisions, just one good one has the outlook at Spurs looking rosey again - there's a genuinely world class head coach at the helm, but now the club must supply him with the tools to succeed.

Big moves are needed starting in the January transfer window in order to maximise Conte's presence - here are five moves Tottenham need to make this month.


1. Decide which midfielders have a future

Tanguy Ndombele
Tanguy Ndombele continues to divide opinion / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

This is a meatier task than meets the eye.

Spurs have plenty of midfield options, but they all have glaring flaws and they could do with an upgrade in that area (more on that later).

Oliver Skipp has quickly become a favourite of both the fans and Conte, with the Italian tactician singing his praises and believing he can become a top player.

But Conte is still searching for Skipp's perfect partner. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is usually preferred, but the two do a lot of the same things and aren't exactly complimentary. Harry Winks has worked his way back into the fold, but there's a ceiling on how good he can be.

Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele showcased against Liverpool last month why they're so highly thought of upstairs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but consistency and fitting into Conte's system remains a pressing issue - the latter was overlooked when Spurs were searching for a winner against 10-man Southampton.

2. Muscle their way to the front of the queue for Franck Kessie

Franck Kessie
Kessie has been strongly linked with a move to Tottenham / Emilio Andreoli/GettyImages

Whatever decision Spurs make with their current crop of midfielders will likely be made with the free signing of Milan's Franck Kessie in mind.

Reports have been rife in Tottenham's interest in the Ivorian since Paratici touched down in north London and have accelerated since Conte's arrival, with both seemingly big fans of Kessie.

There's no smoke without fire and if Kessie is so highly thought of at Spurs, then they need to get him to sign on the dotted line and maybe even bring forward a move to this month.

3. One in, one out at right-back

Emerson Royal
Emerson Royal needs competition / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

After his deadline day arrival from Barcelona, Emerson Royal has almost been unchallenged as Spurs' first choice right-back.

Sure, he's only 22 and this is his first year in England, but the Brazil international has looked much weaker in Conte's system than his left-back counterparts Sergio Reguilon and Ryan Sessegnon.

The mere arrival of competition could kickstart Emerson's Spurs career, because Matt Doherty simply isn't providing that and needs to leave to save his own skin.

If Spurs are willing to return to do more business with Barça (be wary), then Sergino Dest could be available and worth a flyer.

4. Add a reliable centre-back

Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez
Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have featured heavily under Conte / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Admittedly, Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have put in some impressive performances in the Conte era. The problem is they did the same under Pochettino and Mourinho and can't be trusted in the long-term.

Cristian Romero will return from a hamstring injury this month and that will be a sizeable boost, but it'd be nice to bring in another dependable defender in the meantime.

Inter's trio of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni have all been touted with a reunion with Conte, while Milan's Alessio Romagnoli has been linked - any defender on their level would be most welcome.

5. Bring in another attacker

While Lucas Moura's recent surge is great news, Spurs still lack a dependable third source of goals beyond Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

That's not to say they should be looking for a Lucas replacement this month, but some competition and depth would be appreciated - a glance at the Tottenham bench will hardly have you believing that goals will be coming on mid-game.

90min understands Spurs are among a number of Premier League sides monitoring Patrik Schick, who is capable of playing as a number nine or a support striker.

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