Ask most Tottenham fans at the beginning of the 2022-23 season if sitting fourth in the Premier League table ahead of Manchester United and Liverpool and booking passage into the round of sixteen of the Champions League was enough, and you would likely receive a unanimous show of approval.
Though many can - and probably should - criticize much of how Spurs have garnered some results this season under beloved manager Antonio Conte, those results have still placed the north London outfit in a position to achieve some measure of success and continued progression with the guidance of Conte on the touchline and director of football Fabio Paratici at board level.Open in new window
Questions have been levied in the direction of a number of players in the Tottenham camp, while further still, the club needs to strengthen its playing options in the view of supplying Conte with the type of players that truly suit what he is aiming to tactically achieve, particularly in defense and midfield.
With that in mind, 101GreatGoals takes a look at five players at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that Tottenham could view as transfer targets in January or next summer.
National Team: Netherlands
Current Club: Football Club Internazionale Milano
The right-back conundrum at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a tricky one for Spurs currently, which is an odd situation to be in considering the value that Antonio Conte places on the flanks of his tactical schematic.
On the left, Spurs are in much better shape through the work of veteran Croatian star Ivan Perišić and the ability of Ben Davies to deputize if necessary. But on the right, however, it is much more stress-inducing with the inconsistent contributions by Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty, and the curious summer signing of Djed Spence.
For a club aiming to compete at a high level for honors under Conte, truly, none of those options are good enough for the Italian, and interest in Dutch international Denzel Dumfries would make a whole lot of sense for all parties involved.
Experienced at the highest level first with PSV Eindhoven and now with Inter Milan, Dumfries comes with Italian links that suit some of what Conte and Paratici have tapped into since arriving in north London, while his pace, physical attributes, and contributions in the final third would offer a very similar profile to what Perišić has provided on the left. Whether or not PL money is enough to convince the player remains to be seen, however.
National Team: Ecuador
Current Club: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Though he may have an issue with card accumulation, that is hardly a stick to beat 20-year-old Piero Hincapié with as the young center-back progressed by leaps and bounds since his arrival at Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen.
Hincapié presents a player profile that exudes confidence and ability in the air while boasting composure on the ball and quality in being able to build play from the back which would put him in line to have a similarly influential role with the likes of Eric Dier and Cristian Romero.
The Ecuadorian international is one of a cadre of young players for his national team that has come on strong in the last two seasons, and he has drawn quite a flew plaudits in Germany. Now with the arrival of Xabi Alonso on the BayArena touchline, Hincapié will be plying his trade under a manager that will preach ball security, confidence in possession, and a more progressive attacking style of football. Though that is not how Spurs operate overall, qualities that shine in that vein have served both Dier and Romero well under the Italian headmaster, and surely a move from Leverkusen to Tottenham would be viewed as a desirable career bump.
National Team: Uruguay
Current Club: Sporting Clube de Portugal
Moving to a second of three potential midfield targets, Tottenham has already reportedly viewed Sporting CP’s Uruguayan international Manuel Ugarte as a future transfer target for Conte and Paratici, with Spurs set to monitor him in Qatar in just a matter of weeks.
Now in the midst of his second season with Sporting in which he is a key figure, Ugarte first came through the ranks at Uruguayan second division outfit Centro Atlético Fénix before arriving in Portugal in 2020 with Futebol Clube de Famalicão but would only spend a year before the Portuguese giants came calling.
Tottenham can already boast its own key Uruguayan midfielder in Rodrigo Bentancur, who, along with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, has proven to be one of the best central tandems in the league. But past the influential duopoly, Spurs struggle for midfield options that can come in and get the job done to a level commensurate with Conte’s tasking, which has left many frustrated at the failure of Yves Bissouma to settle after his arrival from Brighton.
Ugarte is a midfield workhorse if there ever was one. Excellent in the tackle but also boasts an ability to control possession and pick out the right pass which has seen him complete over 90% of his passes this season for Sporting while also exhibiting press resistance and progression while driving play himself; much like Bentancur has shown. His potential capture would be prudent at the very least.
National Team: Canada
Current Club: Futebol Clube do Porto
Staying in Portugal we look at FC Porto’s Canadian International Stephen Eustáquio, who will be a name that many may not have heard much of, but his arrival at Porto in the winter window last term from Futebol Clube Paços de Ferreira constituted a piece of heralded under-the-radar business that Porto has been known to look for.
Part of a generation of Canadian footballers that have risen to the top alongside Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, Eustáquio’s is a deeper-sitting midfielder capable of operating in both the 6 and 8 roles while offering a balanced profile of defensive strengths married with technical quality and good possession numbers.
He might be somewhat similar to Bissouma in one or two areas of his game, but Bissouma is much more of a roaming player during his best days at Brighton and Eustáquio’s ability to sit deepest and shield could allow for balanced central rotation that Spurs could really tap into during long campaigns that involve both domestic responsibilities as well as continental ambitions.
National Team: Japan
Current Club: Eintracht Frankfurt e.V.
The final name on our list of five comes in with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Japanese star Daichi Kamada after the 26-year-old attacking midfielder has become one of the more heralded players in his position across the Bundesliga in the last two seasons.
Kamada offers a profile of player that Spurs lack in any amount of depth. He can play in either the left or right attacking midfield roles in the forward line but is also capable of operating deeper in central midfield as a more forward-thinking 8. Most importantly, Kamada offers goals; something that Spurs continues to lack in recent seasons past Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, though Rodrigo Bentancur has chimed in on a number of occasions in that avenue this season.
His technical attributes are excellent, and he is as creative as he is a threat in the final third from a goalscoring perspective; both of which have been on display in both the Bundesliga as well as in Europe as Kamada was a key catalyst in Frankfurt’s run to winning the Europa League in 2021-22 while also qualifying for the knockout stage in the Champions League in the current campaign. Another talented attacking player in a long line of Japanese footballers in that area of the pitch, Kamada has hinted at possibly moving away from Germany’s financial capital and a move for him would suit Spurs to the very ground.