After sustaining an injury that might prevent him from competing in the Africa Cup of Nations next month, Tottenham star Pape Matar Sarr broke down in tears on the field. The midfield player had to be substituted off against Bournemouth in his last club match before joining up with his country, even though he was scheduled to play for Senegal.
Sarr was left sweating after hobbling off the field and being replaced by Oliver Skipp in the first half due to his involvement in the January international competition, but his outward display of panic suggests that he is fearing the worst.
Before leaving the field, the 21-year-old received consolation from Spurs’ physiotherapist and club captain Son Heung-min. Manager Ange Postecoglou also gave him a hug. The team as a whole will be praying that the player’s muscular injury is not as severe as initial reports suggest.
Under Postecoglou, Sarr has had a breakout season and developed a solid midfield partnership with James Maddison and Yves Bissouma. Instead, he teamed up with Rodrigo Bentancur and Giovanni Lo Celso against Bournemouth, maintaining his excellent play until he was substituted off the field.
Although Sarr’s injury is the latest blow to Postecoglou’s team, who have been devastated in recent weeks, Bentancur’s comeback for Bournemouth’s visit to north London was greatly anticipated. Spurs were not going to rely on Sarr in January.
For the New Year’s Eve match against Bournemouth, Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Cristian Romero, Dejan Kulusevski, Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Manor Solomon, and Ryan Sessegnon were all out.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Postecoglou acknowledged that the Australian team will benefit from early January acquisitions to reinforce its injury-ravaged roster, but he downplayed the impact of new players when the transfer window opens on Monday.
“It’s obviously great for us if we can do business early,” he stated. Not only is Romero gone, but there’s still an entire month left; why squander it? Even if they aren’t players, you can ease them into our training methods and football style if you can get them in early. After all, it’s not like we’ll recruit someone and have them play right away.
There are many moving pieces, so if you wait until the end of January, it might not be until the middle to end of February before they catch up, depending on where they’re coming from and the league they’re in. Yes, I would really like to do something early in the window, but even stating that is a hurdle for us as other clubs are aware of our desire to act early.”