Tottenham trio Djed Spence, Pape Matar Sarr and Bryan Gil hold key to success of busy transfer window

·3-min read
Tottenham trio Djed Spence, Pape Matar Sarr and Bryan Gil hold key to success of busy transfer window

At the start of August, Tottenham were being hailed as probable winners of the transfer window but, as deadline day passed with barely a whimper from Hotspur Way, some supporters were left frustrated.

Spurs signed seven players - with Destiny Udogie immediately returning to Udinese on loan - but their most recent addition to the current squad was Djed Spence, way back on July 19.

For disgruntled fans, perhaps the novelty of the signings simply wore off or Spurs' disjointed (but unbeaten) start to the season left them spooked.

Or was it reasonable to expect Spurs to build on their strong start to the summer with further signings after Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, Clement Lenglet and Spence?

Certainly, there is a case that Spurs might have been more aggressive in taking advantage of a £150million cash injection by owners ENIC and their return to the Champions League.

Their first XI was a match for anyone from February last season - as evidenced by the 3-2 win at Manchester City - but Antonio Conte's squad still appears thin in some areas, specifically wide forward, centre-back and right wing-back.

From this week, Spurs will play every three or four days until the break for the World Cup in mid-November - with the exception of this month's international break - and the schedule will be unforgiving.

The 1-1 draw at West Ham was a good example of how badly Spurs still miss certain players, with the absences of Cristian Romero and Rodrigo Bentancur keenly felt.

That said, Conte's options are clearly improved and his XI is already far stronger with Perisic at left wing-back. In time, Bissouma can also be expected to become a mainstay in the midfield, while Lenglet provides experienced cover for Ben Davies and Eric Dier.

In Richarlison, Spurs have finally signed a worthy understudy (and potential successor) to Harry Kane as well as fierce competition for Dejan Kulusevski and Heung-min Son.

Djed Spence and Pape Matar Sarr will hope to be handed chances at Tottenham this season (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Djed Spence and Pape Matar Sarr will hope to be handed chances at Tottenham this season (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Perhaps the biggest variables as to whether this window will prove a success or come to look like an opportunity missed are Spence, Bryan Gil and Pape Matar Sarr.

Conte has pointedly described Spence as a "club signing" but if the 21-year-old can adapt to the head coach's demands at wing-back, he has the potential to immediately transform Spurs' right flank and be another summer signing to improve the XI.

Gil, 21, and Sarr, 19, returned from loans at Valencia and Metz, respectively, at the start of the summer and were expected to go out again to continue their development.

If Conte considers them viable options, Spurs should have sufficient numbers to cope with the schedule. If the head coach believes Spence, Gil and Sarr are simply not ready to play, his squad could quickly become stretched by injuries.

If Conte considers Spence, Sarr and Gil as viable options, then Spurs should have sufficient numbers to cope with the schedule

Perhaps most important in assessing Spurs' summer are Conte's own feelings. The head coach is never one to hide his views, and he appears content, having said it would be "crazy" to do too much too soon and that it will take another two transfer windows to turn the club into title challengers.

A degree of patience is needed with the club's ongoing rebuild.

Tottenham fans have long wanted their club to do their business early but perception-wise Spurs have probably suffered for acting with uncharacteristic haste.

If, like tomorrow's opponents Fulham, they had rushed to make a glut of signings on deadline day, some supporters may be feeling more placated today.

As it is, though, Conte and the club have already benefitted from Perisic and Richarlison in the opening five matches, and will surely be better for having had all their new signings in place for a full pre-season.