Andre Gomes Will Be Spurs’ Perfect Dembele Replacement
May 17, 2019
The season has been over for less than a week and yet Premier League teams are being linked with a number of high profile new signings. It’s transfer season, of that there is no doubt. The window may not officially open the whole way until next month – the domestic window has opened – but sides are moving to either protect their assets or strengthen their respective squad.
For Tottenham, the latter would mean making a first high profile signing in 18 months. Champions League hero Lucas Moura was the last new arrival in north London after joining from PSG. Since then, Spurs have been rumoured destination for a number of players, yet none have made the move to the capital, yet that looks set to change this summer.
Indeed, there are a number of positions that need investment in a Spurs side that looked to be running on empty from February onwards. From their 3-1 win over Leicester on February 10th to the end of the season, only Huddersfield, (5), Cardiff, Fulham and Brighton (all 9) earned fewer points than Mauricio Pochettino’s side (11), as per WhoScored.com. They may have spluttered over the finish line to secure a top four finish, yet it was painstakingly obvious that new signings are required if the squad is to remain competitive.
Right-back is a problem position, but it’s in the middle of the park where Spurs must strengthen. Mousa Dembele’s January exit left the team short of central midfielders, while Harry Winks’ ongoing injury issues hasn’t helped Spurs. Eric Dier has been unlucky with injuries and Victor Wanyama’s return to fitness has been timely, yet the duo aren’t guaranteed a place at the club next season amidst reports Spurs will listen to offers for the two players.
Moussa Sissoko has been revelation, though he can’t continue to churn out barnstorming performances without picking up the occasional muscle tear. It’s a ball carrier from deep that is perhaps the greatest need in the midfield, however, with Spurs lacking that added dimension that Dembele offered prior to his move to China.
And not for the first time, Spurs have been linked with a move for Andre Gomes as the ball carrying midfielder they so desperately need. The Portugal international has endured a tumultuous spell with Barcelona following his move to Camp Nou in 2016, yet showcased his talent for Everton as he helped the Toffees to eighth. As one might expect, Everton boss Marco Silva is keen on keeping his compatriot at Goodison Park, even if rumours last week circulated suggesting that Spurs had struck a deal for the player that would see him move to London for €30m.
Barcelona are eager to shift Gomes from the books as they aim to improve elsewhere, with Frenkie Jong expected to be followed by Matthijs de Ligt and Antoine Griezmann to the La Liga champions. Everton are hoping to make his loan move permanent, yet the offer of Champions League football may prove too enticing for Gomes.
What’s more, the Portuguese midfielder would fill a problem position at the club. Of the 75 players to attempt 50 or more dribbles, only four had a better dribble success rate than Gomes (72.7%) in the Premier League this season, as per WhoScored.com. Dembele put in better numbers during his peak years for Pochettino’s side, but Gomes’ return is not to be scoffed at.
Off the ball too, Spurs need a player capable of playing a deep-lying role and Gomes would fill the need impressively. His return of 1.9 tackles per 90 was a solid return and highlights both his defensive discipline and a willingness to drive the ball forward from midfield, a crucial trait that Spurs lacked at times this season, particularly in the wake of Dembele’s departure.
He may offer little in the way of a threat in the final third – Gomes scored just one and assisted another from one shot and 0.3 key passes per 90, respectively, this season – yet Dembele was far from a goalscoring phenom, so this isn’t a particularly crucial aspect required from a midfielder potentially brought in to succeed the Belgian.
For now, Spurs’ focus is the Champions League final in two weeks’ time against Liverpool, yet once that match is done and the dust settles on what has been a memorable campaign, attention will turn to bolstering a squad that needs investment this summer. The tail of at the end of the season did nothing to quell any suggestions that the team could move forward without fresh blood and if Gomes does elect to swap Merseyside for London, then he’d be the ideal signing to make the midfield more competitive and give Spurs the edge over opponents in their bid to keep their rivals at bay.