Last fall, Tottenham appeared to be in the proverbial free fall. The squad looked sluggish and had struggled against the top half of the table despite a strong start. Nuno Espirito Santo won Manager of the Month for August but was fired on November 1 after a bad stretch. Fan reaction to September and October might have been extreme, but the problem looked to be bigger than simply a rough patch and the need for a tactical shakeup. Pundits believed that Spurs needed a complete rebuild, and with ownership’s coffers mostly closed and Harry Kane was looking for a way out, the future looked bleak.
In retrospect, the panic may have been a bit much. While the average age of Tottenham starters might have been in the middle of the pack at 27, the team’s mix of experience and youth (and one addition) is yet to come, already on the precipice of becoming something excellent rather than the splintered team critics were claiming it to be. With optimism on the rise, it’s time to acknowledge a few promising young players ready to help put the Lilywhites over the top.
Oliver Skipp just received our Young Player of the Season award, and we detail his play and importance here. It’s worth recognizing his contributions, but it would be a mistake to think he’s the only vital part of the youth movement underway at N17.
Of course, no one knew last November who we would be able to acquire in the January transfer window, and it ended up providing one of our other most exciting young athletes. Dejan Kulusevski came over from Juventus on an 18-month loan, but the team will almost certainly make the signing permanent despite some recent strangeness around the deal.
Kulusevski, who only recently turned 22, added new attack elements to the team’s front line. Starting at the right wing, the lefty contributed five goals and eight assists in just 18 games since his arrival. The goals have been exciting, but the assists stand out.
Deki has shown exceptional vision and awareness for a player his age, calmly finding teammates for strong finishes while using the threat of a quick shot to keep opponents off balance every time he turns in. With two Golden Boot winners next to him up top, his ability to mesh with his new teammates quickly made the Spurs a more dangerous team almost immediately. With Kane, Heung-min Son, and Kulusevski all likely to stay, the team’s once-dormant offense appears to be unstoppable for the foreseeable future.