The tactician helped the London-based side to finish at the sixth position in the standings in the 2019-20 season.
Jose Mourinho took over the reins of Tottenham Hotspur in November 2019, when the club was placed at the 14th spot of the standings. The Portuguese tactician managed to steady the ship initially, but a host of injuries to his key players meant that the positive momentum was derailed.
The club secured a UEFA Europa League spot at the end of the season as they rounded off their campaign with a sixth-place finish. It is certainly not a desirable outcome for a club that had set high standards in the last few years. However, Jose Mourinho was able to spark a turnaround ever since his arrival despite the numerous hindrances that Tottenham Hotspur faced towards the conclusion of the campaign.
Naturally, the former Chelsea & Manchester United boss would have wanted to make some significant reinforcements to his squad in the transfer window. However, the COVID-19 situation could possibly prevent clubs from spending big in the summer. Here, we look at five footballers that Mourinho will arguably target to lure in to the North London club for the upcoming season, keeping the obvious financial restrictions into consideration.
5. Saïd Benrahma
Saïd Benrahma is an Algerian winger and represents Championship side Brentford FC. The club narrowly missed out on securing a promotion to the Premier League for the 2020/21 season. Benrahma usually plays from the left flank and displays commendable footwork and quick pace.
He attempted three dribbles on an average in 46 matches that he played in second-tier of English football in the previous campaign. The 24-year-old scored 17 goals and notched nine assists in those games, whilst delivering 2.1 key passes per game. He took 3.8 shots in every 90 minutes and rakes of a winger who can make constructive moves happen on his own and has an eye for a goal too. The former OGC Nice player is tenacious, boasts of quality on the ball and can score goals aplenty too. He could be a valuable addition to Jose Mourinho’s setup.
4. Max Aarons
Kieran Trippier’s transfer to Atletico Madrid meant that Spurs have been found wanting for a credible player on the right back slot. Serge Aurier has been arguably underwhelming and the team hence required a more reliable player for that all-important position. Norwich City’s Max Aarons comes across as a potentially competent alternative.
The 20-year-old is dependable on the defensive front, as he has a tendency of winning the ball back by committing into appropriate challenges. He is confident on the ball, and recorded 1.3 dribbles per match in his 36 appearances in the Premier League in 2019-20. Aarons registered 1.3 tackles, one interception and two clearances on an average in those encounters too.
He might appear to be a bit suspect in terms of his overall positioning at times, but that is an area where he can improve upon as he has age by his side. Aurier’s recklessness meant that Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur did not particularly have a solid defensive line in the 2019-20 season. Aarons can aid the team in developing that aspect, which is also one of the foremost foundations of a classic Jose Mourinho team.
3. Callum Wilson
Jose Mourinho arguably requires a back-up for Harry Kane at Tottenham Hotspur, given the prolific striker’s recent history with injuries. It will arguably not make much sense to splash massive amount of money on another frontline forward, given the fact that Kane will continue to remain the talisman upfront for the team. However, Callum Wilson can possibly be someone who can be lured in as a second-choice centre-forward.
Wilson has ample experience of playing in the Premier League. Over the years, he has scored 41 goals and played an assist in 12 others in 126 Premier League matches for AFC Bournemouth. Wilson is lauded for his decision-making in front of the goal, and he links up well with the other forwards too.
He has a shooting accuracy of 41% and is quite reliable aerially as well. Bournemouth’s relegation means that Wilson will not command a massive fee either. He is a 28-year-old, and some of his efficient goal-scoring years await him in the coming seasons. He can also allow Mourinho to set up his side with two strikers on occasions, thus opening up more goal-scoring avenues.
2. Nicolo Zaniolo
AS Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo is said to be in Tottenham Hotspur’s radar. The 21-year-old is an attacking midfielder and majorly operates in the half-spaces from the right flank. He is a fine dribbler, can pierce the opposition’s defensive line through his slick passes and promises to add some much-needed ingenuity to Spurs’ forward line.
Christian Eriksen’s departure has created a vacuum in the attacking department for Spurs. Zaniolo scored six goals and bagged two assists in 26 Serie A appearances last season. The midfielder is a ball-carrier of sorts, and attempted 2.2 dribbles and took 1.8 shots at goal on an average per game in Serie A in the previous campaign.
1. Ruben Dias
The Lilywhites might have to significantly strengthen their defensive department before next season, and Mourinho could look back into his native country to seek a solution.
Ruben Dias plays as a central midfielder for Portuguese top-flight club SL Benfica. He is robust, young, understands the flow of the game properly and has been a consistent performer for his club. Dias put in 1.3 tackles and 3.1 clearances on an average in 33 Primeira Liga matches in 2019-20. He recorded an impressive passing accuracy of 88.6%, and even managed to score and assist two goals each.
Dias is dominant in the air, as he won 2.6 aerial duels per game. The 22-year-old might take some time to adapt to the nature of the Premier League, but he could be a reasonable replacement of Jan Vertonghen if honed properly.