Ben Davies, Blog, Blog Post, Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose, Davinson Sánchez, Dele Alli, English Premier League, Eric Dier, Fernando Llorente, Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Leagues, Mousa Dembélé, Serge Aurier, Son Heung-Min, Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham Hotspur, Victor Wanyama


ESPN FC’s Dan Kilpatrick gives his verdict on Tottenham’s transfer business.
ESPN FC’s Dan Kilpatrick gives his verdict on Tottenham’s transfer business.

In March last season, ESPN FC ranked Tottenham’s top 15 players in order of importance.

Six months on, with Tottenham’s summer business complete, we did it again, naming the climbers and fallers over the final months of last season and the summer.

This list is not extensive and has been ranked according to varying factors. Some players still with a part to play have been omitted.

Performance, potential, the ability to make an impact and influence the course of a game, other options in that area of the field, the ability or inability to replace them and market value have all played a part in revising the 15.

1. Harry Kane (no change)

Deadline-day signing Fernando Llorente is a proven goal scorer and a proven winner who can be both a foil and an alternative for Kane. But the England international remains Tottenham’s talisman and the best striker in the Premier League. The team are not the same without him.

2. Christian Eriksen (+4)

There is no one close to being an alternative to Eriksen in Spurs’ squad, especially while Erik Lamela is unfit, and the assist-master can pick a lock as well as dictate the tempo.

3. Dele Alli (-1)

Alli is possibly the best goal-scoring midfielder in Europe. Although he still has a tendency to drift out of games, he is a match winner and a man for the big occasions. Spurs would find it impossible to replace him.

4. Jan Vertonghen (+3)

Vertonghen has leapfrogged Toby Alderweireld to become Spurs’ most reliable centre-half, and he thrives in the three-man defence. The signings of Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth increase the competition for his place, but last season he was one of the best defenders in the league.

5. Mousa Dembele (+3)

The midfielder is creaking — he has admitted that he will never play again without pain — but there is still nobody else at Tottenham capable of doing what he does. His ability to break the opposition press by gliding past opponents is unrivalled, and Spurs look less physical and assured when he is missing.

6. Toby Alderweireld (-2)

Faultless again in the league last season, Alderweireld has looked a little lost when Spurs have played at Wembley, and there is pressure on him from Sanchez and Foyth. But he remains a leader and a superb last line of defence.

Harry Kane, left, set Tottenham on the way to victory against Juventus.
Spurs will continue to count on Harry Kane and Dele Alli to come through in big situations.

7. Hugo Lloris (+3)

The captain remains an experienced dressing room leader and a great goalkeeper, but he has made a couple of high-profile mistakes recently. His place is under no threat from Michel Vorm, though.

8. Victor Wanyama (-3)

The Kenyan missed preseason with a knee complaint, and he has not been fit at the start of this season. That has been a blow to Spurs, who have missed his physical presence and underrated ability on the ball.

9. Eric Dier (+2)

Of last season’s first XI, Dier was alone in not being among the best two or three players in the Premier League in his position, and his place is under the most threat from the summer signings. But his versatility and leadership still make him an important member of the squad.

10. Serge Aurier (new entry)

The new signing will be tasked with replacing the pace and athleticism that have been missing from the right flank since Kyle Walker joined Manchester City. He will probably go straight into the team ahead of Kieran Trippier, who remains a good deputy but does not have the profile that Pochettino wants in a full-back.

11. Danny Rose (-8)

Rose was once among Spurs’ most important players, but his controversial outburst and subsequent fallout with Pochettino leave his place in the XI, and future at the club, in doubt. If he can regain focus and fitness, he should still be the starting left-back, but it’s easy to imagine that it will never be the same for him at Spurs.

Danny Rose has dropped considerably in light of his outburst.

12. Son Heung-Min (no change)

Llorente’s arrival means Son is no longer the de facto alternative for Kane up front, but he is still a goal threat and the only forward player at the club with any real pace. He will start plenty of games and provide an option from the bench, too.

13. Ben Davies (+2)

The uncertainty over Rose means Davies, who is solid but uninspiring, remains an important player as Spurs’ only other left-sided full-back.

14. Fernando Llorente (new entry)

It feels like forever since Spurs have had a second striker of any real quality, but the deadline day signing guarantees goals and offers a Plan B. His dislike of running makes it hard to see how he fits with Pochettino’s high-pressing football, however.

15. Davinson Sanchez (new entry)

The club-record signing will be expected to challenge for a place in the back three quickly, and his pace — highlighted by Pochettino as one of his best attributes — will be a major asset on Wembley’s big pitch.

Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.



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