Tottenham Hotspur’s 2023–24 season was always going to be a time of change, but Ange Postecoglou made a spectacular debut to London.
Spurs had won eight of their ten Premier League games and drawn two, against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and on the opening day at Brentford.
And this is in spite of the August talisman Harry Kane’s sale. The record scorer for Tottenham is a beloved member of the team, but he left for Bayern Munich following the team’s eighth-place finish last year.
Some hiccups have happened along the way, but that was to be expected. What counts at this point is that Spurs, who are currently fifth in the table, have regained their identity and are showing indications of improvement under the direction of their Australian manager. After overcoming a setback prior to the holiday season, they have now only suffered one league loss in their last eight games.
It was critical that chairman Daniel Levy made the proper decisions during the January transfer window because there were so many outfits vying for attention.
Spurs’ January budget
Prior to the winter market opening, Postecoglou had stated that bolstering Tottenham’s central defensive options was his first objective. The seasonal attempts were hampered by the absences of Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven.
In order to replace Eric Dier, who had been lingering on the sidelines for the majority of the season and had recently finished a loan move to Bayern Munich with a £3 million buy option inserted, Radu Dragusin, 21, was signed in a £27 million deal from Genoa.
For Genoa, Radu Dragusin in action.
Although youngster Ashley Phillips recently completed a loan move to Plymouth Argyle in the Championship, Tottenham hasn’t added much to their defensive ranks. However, Postecoglou is beginning to shape his players to his liking, and talent scout Jacek Kulig has praised Dragusin for his “complete & dominant” style.
Timo Werner, who was also signed from RB Leipzig on a six-month loan with a £15 million buyout option, joined the team while Heung-min Son was abroad representing South Korea in the Asia Cup. Although the German international hasn’t played well in his first few games, he has already contributed two assists.
Conor Gallagher, a midfield player for Chelsea, was reportedly advised by Tottenham that their pursuit of him would not be fruitful, and no formal offer was ever made.
Premier League Conor Gallagher of Chelsea
Conor Gallagher may already be a member of the Spurs academy.
On the day of the deadline, the window was neatly wrapped up. Spurs had already completed their monthly tasks, but an attempt to sabotage Barcelona’s potential acquisition of teenage phenom Lucas Bergvall proved effective. The Swedish midfielder, who joined the London club from Djurgårdens IF in the summer, was signed for £8.5 million.
Though a number of names were mentioned, a center-forward was not signed. Levy and company should be disappointed that Brentford refused to entertain the idea of making a deal for their prolific talisman, Ivan Toney.
The center forward that Spurs desired
Last month, Toney was being targeted by Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United. However, Bees manager Thomas Frank had allegedly threatened to demand £100 million for the England international in order to deter potential bidders. It appears to have been successful. Spurs were clearly unwilling to part with the attacker for a club-high price.
After serving an eight-month suspension for breaking FA betting regulations, Toney returned to competitive play a few weeks ago. This season, he has scored in both of his Premier League games and shows no signs of ring rust.
Tottenham will be keeping a careful eye on the 27-year-old’s availability in the summer. However, Levy and company may look back on this with regret as a wasted chance, since teams will probably be better prepared for large expenditures once the season comes to an end.
The finest things about Ivan Toney
Will Tottenham do well now that they decided not to sharpen their arrows at the end of last month? To be fair, Richarlison has scored nine goals in his last eight Premier League games, and Heung-min Son has shown his value as a center offensive player this season.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 6, 2023
It would be an understatement to suggest that the Brazilian has been in peak form, having at last discovered his destructive side following a protracted struggle that began when he moved to the capital for £60 million from Everton back in 2022.
Even though Richarlison scores a lot of goals—20 from 33 Premier League appearances last season—he lacks the dynamism and intelligence of Toney, whose style of play even made Declan Rice say he is “like Harry Kane.” Toney also provides four assists, wins 6.7 duels per game on average, and creates a staggering 12 big chances.
To illustrate this notion, according to FBref, Toney is in the top 13% of forwards in Europe’s top five leagues for progressive passes made over the previous year, the top 17% for interceptions and aerial duels won, and the top 12% for clearances per 90.
Ivan Toney, striker for Brentford.
Frank called Toney a “monster” of a center-forward, and Postecoglou needs to make sure the team makes Toney’s acquisition a priority if money is set aside to recruit a new striker in the summer. Toney may be the missing piece in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium puzzle.
Although Son and Richarlison are both outstanding players, it appears that Son’s strengths lie
on the left wing, and Toney might equal Richarlison’s hitting rate while combining other elements to improve the cohesiveness and flow down N17.