Inspired by TifoFootball’s series of sensible transfers, I will attempt to pinpoint players that big and small sides in the Premier League and beyond can sign. The upper budget limit will be 15 million Euros, which in today’s transfer market is practically a pittance. All valuations are taken from Transfermarkt.
Tottenham have looked flat so many times this season and only their second-half form is preventing them from being much lower down the table. Helped by Ben Griffis, a wonderful analyst, I pinpointed the following positions for Spurs to consider strengthening in.
A new midfielder could solve the main need for creativity and the defensive deficiencies require a new center back. To help in the creative and build-up department, the new center back should be adept on the ball and preferably be left-footed. Left-footed center backs are to football what Bitcoin was to crypto a few years ago, so finding a cheap one might be tough.
Central Midfielder: 1. Exequiel Palacios
Despite racking up only a handful of minutes at the World Cup, Palacios looks to be a promising prospect. His standout abilities relate to his passing, with his progressive passing being ranked in the 92nd percentile by Fbref and his goal-creating actions are ranked in the high 60s. He puts a shift in the defensive department as well, with 4.8 tackles and interceptions per 90. In a fairly disappointing Bayer Leverkusen side he has been a bright spot, contributing one goal in the 10 matches he took part in.
Central Midfielder: 2. Corentin Tolisso
Tolisso’s Bayern career had not panned out as he had hoped, but watching him play for the Bavarians you could clearly see why they signed him. But a combination of injuries and absolutely world-class competition in his position prevented him from locking down a starting position. His passing abilities are even better than Palacios, with nearly 10 passes into the final third and 9 progressive passes per 90s, and he has shown signs of his quality since returning to Lyon on a free transfer this past summer.
This, combined with an 87% pass success rate across short, medium and long passes means that he could be the key to unlocking stubborn the defenses that stumped Spurs this season. His link-up abilities could also be useful for the club, having high shot 5 shot creating actions per 90. The only drawback is his defensive work, which isn’t brilliant, but with Hojbjerg next to him, Tottenham’s midfield should be fine.
Central Midfielder: 3. Branco van den Boomen
A player, that was unknown to me before looking for players to fit my list, he is having a brilliant season for Toulouse. In his 18 Ligue 1 appearances, he manages to score three goals and provide six assists. His passing numbers are comparable to his Lyon counterpart, but he provides much more of a threat in front of goal.
Central Midfielder: 4. Luka Modrić
And now for the bombshell. Modrić’s contract expires this summer, and with Real Madrid signing Aurélien Tchouameni and Edouardo Camavinga they could be tempted to cash in for a relatively small amount on their aging superstar. A few years ago, Bayern did the same thing, signing and aging Xabi Alonso for little to no money from Real.
I won’t bore you with all the numbers Modrić puts up, but you can imagine that the passing and chance creation numbers are obscenely high. He still seems to be able to compete at the highest level, even at 37, as he proved at the World Cup. This shout might be crazy, but might be just crazy enough to work. And we all know Antonio Conte loves old players.
Center Back: 1. Abdou Diallo
With only five appearances this season for RB Leipzig, both the club and the player could be convinced to make the switch. He is currently contracted to PSG and on loan in Germany, but as the Wout Weghorst deal has proven, loans can be cut short in January.
His World Cup campaign was fairly impressive with Senegal, looking solid at the back. His 2.44 tackles and interceptions per 90 are decent, but not awe-inspiring. Where he shines though is progression and passing, especially progressive passing, which could enable Spurs to build from the back more effectively.
Center Back: 2. Jacob Greaves
Greaves is a very interesting CB playing for Hull in the Championship. Whilst his 3.70 tackles and interceptions per 90 are very good for the league he plays in and he seems to be an adept mover of the ball and is assured in possession, his standout numbers are three goals and two assists in 26 appearances. Now you might say that it’s the Championship we are talking about, but I believe he could be a Premier League-level player soon enough.
Center Back: 3. Olivier Boscagli
Boscagli has been a mainstay in PSV’s backline for the last three years, but is currently out with an injury until April. Again passing ability and progression are very good for him and he has higher defensive numbers than Diallo and Greaves. It remains to be seen if he can recapture his form once he returns.
By: Eduard Holdis / @He_Ftbl
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Chris Brunskill / Fantasista / Getty Images