Lange transfer chat, defender woe and 5 things on Postecoglou's Tottenham pre-season to-do list

Lucas Bergvall in action for Tottenham during his first pre-season at the club under Ange Postecoglou
-Credit: (Image: Tottenham Hotspur)

Tottenham's players are now on day four of pre-season work back at Hotspur Way as Ange Postecoglou continues to shape the club for the coming season.

The Australian has enjoyed a summer relaxing in Greece, after first remaining in Melbourne for a few days following Spurs' post-season friendly against Newcastle there, before he later took on some punditry duties with ITV at Euro 2024. Postecoglou returned to Hotspur Way amid that TV work to start preparing for the new season and then returned fully on Friday ahead of the players coming back on Saturday.

The hard work starts now for the Tottenham head coach and here are five things to focus on when it comes to his pre-season to-do list.

Settle in the new boys

There were two new faces at Tottenham this week and a returning one. Spurs agreed a £40million transfer package for Archie Gray with Joe Rodon heading in the opposite direction to Leeds United and that came after the north London club struck a deal with RB Leipzig to bring Timo Werner back for a full season this time.

Then there is Lucas Bergvall, who was signed in February in an £8.5million deal from Djurgarden and the bright blond Swede finally arrived at the weekend and was shown having a car park catch-up with Postecoglou on Saturday after pulling up.

While Werner will already have a head start in knowing what the Australian demands of his players, this is going to be a crucial period for Gray and Bergvall to settle into the coach's very different philosophy with a lot of pressure placed on the midfielders to take on plenty of tactical instructions.

Both 18-year-olds are rated among the best at their age group in their respective countries so they are expected to thrive within their new club and Postecoglou and his coaches will be working to ensure that transition is as seamless as possible as they adapt to the step up.

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Get his methods across to the new coaches

It's not just new players for Postecoglou to work with this week as he must fully bring two new coaches into his way of working. There's an unusual dynamic in the new-look, bigger coaching team this season with the Spurs boss bringing in a manager and his assistant to work beneath him and newly-promoted senior assistant coach Matt Wells.

They are Nick Montgomery and Sergio Raimundo, who worked together at Central Coast Mariners to take them to the A-League title and then in a less successful spell at Hibernian in Scotland. Postecoglou normally imparts his ideas very quickly to new coaching staff - he's used to constantly changing his set-up at every club he manages - but there will also be an added focus no doubt on how Wells leads the staff with this very set duo amongst it and uses it to Tottenham's advantage.

There are also Ryan Mason, Mile Jedinak and goalkeeping coach Rob Burch in the bigger team than last season, having replaced Chris Davies with the two newcomers.

Constant transfer chats with Johan Lange

While Postecoglou has two new young faces to work with already in pre-season and that returning one in Werner, he will want more newcomers to work with as the days pass if he is to build a team that he expects to challenge further up the Premier League table next season and take on the many fixtures that the newly-expanded Europa League brings as well.

Postecoglou's relationship with technical director Johan Lange is key and the two men will remain in regular contact at Hotspur Way. In Melbourne, the Australian said he was "really comfortable" with the plan that he and the Dane had agreed upon with the club for the transfer window.

He also told that he wanted signings in through the door in order to be involved in pre-season rather than mostly coming later on towards the end of the transfer window. We will soon find out when Postecoglou begins to talk - if he does - after the early pre-season friendlies whether the original plan is on track and it involves players currently playing at the Euros or Copa America, or whether it is moving slower than expected.

Looking at the varied movement elsewhere, with little happening yet at the top sides in the Premier League, the likelihood is that it's somewhere in the middle.

Decide on bids for current players

Postecoglou is currently working with a number of players who were not in his plans last season, including the likes of Djed Spence and Sergio Reguilon. While decisions over moves for players like that will be left to the hierarchy, the Spurs boss will need to have more of a say if offers come in for those who could go either way this summer.

Postecoglou used Emerson Royal a fair bit last season, filling in at centre-back on a number of occasions or on the left, but AC Milan are keen to take him to Italy. His compatriot Richarlison has publicly stated that he wants to stay at Tottenham but after two injury-hit seasons, the club are expected to consider any big offer that might come in, with Postecoglou given the final say. Bryan Gil will also be allowed to depart the club after three years with relatively little football.

The Spurs boss knows those players well by now and any decisions will likely be simple, while agreeing to the right loan for young academy players or keeping them for the Europa League squad might prove more complicated.

Manage the centre-back problem

With Micky van de Ven, Radu Dragusin and Cristian Romero having been in action at Euro 2024 or the Copa America, it means Postecoglou only has one natural centre-back for much of pre-season at his disposal in Ashley Phillips, who turned 19 a fortnight ago and spent the second half of last season on loan at Plymouth where he won their Young Player of the Season award.

Defenders Joe Rodon and Eric Dier have both left the club, the former to Leeds and latter to Bayern Munich at the end of his contract, while Japhet Tanganga was released at the conclusion of his deal. That would hand an opportunity for game time to Alfie Dorrington, but the 19-year-old academy centre-back is currently recovering from hamstring surgery and may not be back in training until August or potentially September.

Postecoglou will have to turn to full-backs Ben Davies and the Milan-linked Emerson to fill in at centre-back for as long as possible alongside Phillips, who will at least get the chance to show the Australian how much he has developed in the past six months.

Tottenham's pre-season campaign begins on Saturday with a behind-closed-doors friendly match against Cambridge United. Spurs then make their way up to Scotland to play Hearts in a friendly next Wednesday (July 17) before taking on QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday July 20. A couple of days later they fly out to Japan and South Korea for their summer tour, with matches against Vissel Kobe, a K-League All Star team and Bayern Munich before returning to N17 to face Bayern at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 10.

Dragusin could potentially return from the tour onwards if the Romanian decides to join up with the squad at that point after taking some well-earned rest.

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