Spurs: Who could depart this summer? And who should?

With Tottenham Hotspur reportedly in late-stage contract negotiations (somewhat surprisingly) to acquire Marseille and French U-21 winger Georges-Kévin N’Koudou, it looks like Spurs are set to add their third player this summer.  Though Clinton Njié, the young Cameroonian hybrid forward/winger, could be set to go the other way on loan as part of the deal, not a single player has left so far during this transfer window. 

That means something has to give. 

Tottenham were praised by many last season for their overall squad depth (aside from a reliable Harry Kane backup) but there is a fine line between having the perfect amount of depth all over the park and having a team that is too bloated. In order to remedy this, there is no doubt that manager Mauricio Pochettino, chairman Daniel Levy, and the rest of the backroom staff will be looking to offload a few peripheral squad members.

Having signed holding midfielder Victor Wanyama from Southampton and rising Dutch striker Vincent Janssen from AZ, Spurs have done some tidy business thus far. In the age of bloated transfer fees, signing three quality players for around 40 million pounds is no small feat (N’Koudou will reportedly cost around 11, Janssen 17 and Wanyama 11). However, Spurs haven’t been able to recoup any of that money so far, owing to the previously mentioned fact that they have not sold anyone (yet). And so, here is a list of players on the fringe that could help recuperate Spurs’ bank, and whether or not they could go, or more emphasizingly, should go.

Nacer Chadli – A talented yet frustrating winger/forward combo, Chadli is one of a number of players in the squad who are interchangeable in any of the four forward positions in Pochettino’s favored 4-2-3-1 system. Problem is, the Belgian is already behind the likes of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min with several younger players vying hard for the backup position. Chadli, despite his versatility, has regressed in each passing season since joining Tottenham in 2013 and now looks out of place in a side that will be challenging for both the Champions League and the Premier League this coming season.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? Yes

Chadli has declined in form since his arrival in 2013, and it would not surprise many to see him offloaded this summer. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Ryan Mason – Another player who has seemingly regressed, though more due to injury than poor form.  Mason looked spectacular just one season prior, and as a Spurs Academy graduate, it is always good to see him get a chance and make the most of it. Pochettino seems to like Mason, but injuries last year really set him back and allowed Dele Alli to emerge as a star. Bournemouth are reportedly keen on him, and with the right offer, it could be too good for both the club and the player to pass on.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? Yes

Ryan Mason has played the part of a backup reliably this last season, but a player of his quality should be fighting for a place amongst the starters. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tom Carroll – A silky smooth left-footed central midfield player, Tom Carroll looked like the next great Spurs midfielder after a positive loan move to Swansea several years back.  However, the acceleration of Tottenham’s ambitions, coupled with the rise/accumulation of better players who play in his position, has left Carroll out in the cold. Still only 24 years old, Carroll could and should move on to a club lower in the table where he would be able to start every week, because it is highly unlikely he will ever be able to do that at Tottenham and he’s too skilled not to play somewhere.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? Yes

Bentaleb’s been criticised for his reported lack of work ethic. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Nabil Bentaleb – Much like Ryan Mason, a talented central midfielder who is hard to define.  Like Mason, arrived on the scene as a 20 year-old Academy graduate in Pochettino’s first year in charge and was truly non-existent during this past season. Some of that was due to injury, but some was also attributed to poor form and a reported lack of work ethic. He has bags of talent, and at just 21 years old should get at least one more season, perhaps with an ultimatum, to prove whether or not he can fight his way back into the team.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? No

Pritchard was loaned to West Brom to further hone his skills. (Photo by Adam Fradgley – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

Alex Pritchard – Once thought of a possible crown jewel of the Tottenham academy, the attacking midfielder certainly looked the part after several successful loan moves to clubs in the FL Championship. However, having stayed with Spurs for the first half of last season, where he barely featured, he went on loan to West Brom in February, where he barely featured (2 total appearances). Just 23 years old (they’re all so young!), it is not too late for him to jumpstart his career, but it is looking increasingly likely that is it is going to have to be elsewhere.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? Yes

Federico Fazio – A hulking central defender, the Argentine quickly fell down the pecking order once his countryman took the reins. Not for lack of effort, or even a lack of quality, but Fazio just doesn’t fit the kind of high-pressing, high defensive line that Pochettino wants to play with. A virtual certainty that he will be sold this summer, it only remains to be seen to whom and for how much.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? Yes

Clinton Njié – The aforementioned Njié is another player who has divided opinion in his brief time at Tottenham. I am among the group that believes he can find his place and his feet with time and become a really good attacking option off the bench. He is pacy, tricky, and has both an eye for goal and the eye to assist. Injuries cost him much of this last campaign, but his six appearances were pretty shaky overall; he only recorded a solitary assist and scored no goals. He may be sent on loan to Marseille next season as part of the N’Koudou deal, but I think Pochettino sees something in him and is unlikely to offload him this summer.

Could Leave? Yes (on loan at least)  Should Leave? No

DeAndre Yedlin – The American right back, who took the World Cup in Brazil by storm with his fearlessness and blinding pace, is at a bit of a crossroads in his young career.  Bought in large part off the back of that tournament performance two years ago, he has gone on to feature just once for the club, as a late substitute.  Improved markedly, especially defensively, under Big Sam Allardyce during his full year loan at Sunderland last year, where he made 23 appearances in all competitions for the Black Cats. Sunderland are keen to retain his services as they embark on what will surely be yet another relegation battle, and Yedlin has been quoted as saying he would be open to returning, but something seems amiss here. Right now, he’s probably behind Kieran Trippier in the battle to be Kyle Walker’s backup, but Pochettino is known to rotate his fullbacks constantly, so there is something to be said about being on the bench for him. However, I have a suspicion that Pochettino does not rate Yedlin as much as some others in the front office and could be inclined to sell him if Sunderland make the right pitch.

Could Leave? Yes  Should Leave? No

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