What Tottenham need in the January transfer window

Diop Mourinho Eriksen split pic
Jose Mourinho has already made clear that he won't be doing much business during the winter but his hand could be forced by departures

When Jose Mourinho was appointed Tottenham boss, social media was brimming with jokes combining his spending history with Daniel Levy’s preference to be tight with the purse strings.

It seems the jokes have even found their way into the Spurs camp.

“I expect to be asked about Daniel Levy saying we don't plan to spend a lot, and people to ask if I'm upset,” Mourinho told the press recently.

“Will that upset me? No. I knew it; he told me! Would I prefer to have £300 million in January? I wouldn't. In January, I don't need players.”

It was a press conference that didn’t fit the pre-January agenda of stirring up a transfer storm.

But given Mourinho has inherited a squad absolutely stacked in depth in every position, one performing reasonably well across the board, these were comments that came as no surprise.

After all, there are many players – such as summer signings Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso – yet to feature much under the new boss due to injury.

For there to be any room in this squad for new faces, there must first be some sales...

Tottenham's likely January transfer exits

Christian Eriksen will be one of the biggest stories of the January window, with the Dane seemingly set to depart north London after six-and-a-half years with Spurs.

Manchester United have long been the most prominently linked club with the 27-year-old attacking midfielder, whose contract expires in the summer.

Given the depth Mourinho has in central areas, a replacement may not be needed if Eriksen were to leave in January, but it could certainly give him a good excuse to head into the market.

Victor Wanyama, who has played just nine minutes of club football since Mauricio Pochettino’s departure, is another who could be on his way, with West Ham United rumoured to be interested.

Juan Foyth has started just one Premier League game this season and is also understood to be keen to leave in order to get the minutes he wants.

Jose Mourinho Christian Eriksen Tottenham 2019-20

The 21-year-old finds himself well below the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez in the centre-back pecking order.

Vertonghen’s regular presence as a left-back under Mourinho, with Ben Davies injured, has also raised question marks over the future of Danny Rose.

Rose, however, has already spoken about the possibility of leaving, telling the Evening Standard: “In January, you are probably going to hear something [about my future]. I’m telling you right now that I’m not going anywhere until my contract is finished.”

Elsewhere, some of the youngsters on the fringes of the first team are likely to be loaned out.

While Pochettino preferred to have them available to step in when required, players such as Oliver Skipp, Kyle Walker-Peters and Japhet Tanganga are expected to be sent elsewhere in January.

Tottenham's likely January transfer signings

There have been a whole handful of names linked with Spurs, particularly since Mourinho took over, but many of those are more likely to be summer targets, such as PSG’s Layvin Kurzawa, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Spurs have their own concerns on that front but with Toby Alderweireld having penned a new deal, Vertonghen is now expected to follow suit.

If he doesn't, Spurs could well go into the market for another centre-back.

A failed attempt to sign Norwich City's Ben Godfrey's is reportedly what led to the club putting an increased focus on talks with Alderweireld, so they could end up turning to West Ham's Issa Diop.

Issa Diop West Ham 2019

Other potential targets include Wolves’ Adama Traore, Flamengo midfielder Gerson and Lille pair Victor Osimhen and Boubakary Soumare – with Mourinho having added coaches from the French club to his backroom staff.

A striker like Osimhen, who could provide back-up for Harry Kane, would certainly not go amiss for a team who will be fighting on three fronts in the New Year.

But the versatility of Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and even Dele Alli may be enough for Mourinho to stick with what he's got.

There will be some returnees to north London, though, with Jack Clarke to be recalled from his loan with Leeds United and Cameron Carter-Vickers also coming back after a spell at Stoke City.

Clarke has hardly featured for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season, despite being a regular last year before he was bought and loaned back out by Spurs.

Whether he fits into Mourinho's current plans remains to be seen, with another loan, one that will guaranteed him more playing time, the more likely outcome.

Carter-Vickers, meanwhile, could replace Foyth if the Argentine chooses to leave.

How Spurs could line up after the transfer window

All in all, there’s probably not going to be much difference between the Tottenham team that plays Southampton on New Year’s Day and the team that faces Manchester City two days after the winter window closes.

If anything, players returning to fitness are more likely to influence his starting line-up than transfers, with those most likely to leave having been anything but central to Mourinho’s plans so far.

Tottenham possible XI PS gfx

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Lo Celso and Sessegnon are both slowly coming back into the team, while Hugo Lloris should be back in training in January. Davies and Erik Lamela are set to return in the coming weeks.

A mid-season appointment plays its part in what will be a quiet transfer window, though, with Mourinho still figuring out his best team and where he needs to strengthen.

It will take him time to do so and make for a busier summer than winter for Tottenham.