How Quickly Will We See Tottenham’s Newest Trio?

ENFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Tottenham Hotspur unveil new signing Moussa Sissoko on August 31, 2016 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
ENFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Tottenham Hotspur unveil new signing Moussa Sissoko on August 31, 2016 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images) /

With the international break winding down, Tottenham’s newest additions will be wondering when they will get their first debuts in the club’s colors.

Tottenham — read: Daniel Levy — orchestrated a hat-trick of deals on the final day of the summer transfer window last week. A long-belated deal for Georges-Kévin Nkoudou was the first to come through, followed closely by a loan move for Espanyols’ Pau López. Just when it seemed like the club’s business for the summer was done, Tottenham apparently stole Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko out from under Everton’s nose.

Despite the drama of those late acquisitions, it’s not at all clear if any of those three players will be Tottenham starters in the near future. With Mauricio Pochettino’s lineup from last season left intact after a season of only selling second or third tier players, he knew what his team would be well before the opening day whistle.

Still, Pochettino’s never had more incentive to rotate his starting XI. With the Premier League more demanding than ever and a reasonably tough Champions League group stage ahead, Nkoudou and Sissoko can expect to get minutes at some point.

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Unless something catastrophic happens, López will likely spend most of his time with the under 21 side or waiting for a chance to play in domestic cups.

How soon can we expect to see Nkoudou and Sissoko though? With only a few days before Tottenham travel to Stoke City, the first tantalizing clues have surfaced.

The Evening Standard cited reliable sources on Monday when they claimed that Érik Lamela would be rested for Saturday’s trip. The Tottenham forward will only have one day of training after Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier with Argentina, and thus isn’t the preferred option to start.

In his stead it seems likely that Sissoko will start on the right side of midfield. It will be the first opportunity for the Frenchman to prove that his £30 million fee was worth it.

Compared to Lamela, Sissoko will offer something a bit different as part of Tottenham’s four man attack. As valuable a player as the Argentine is, his talents aren’t dramatically different than Christian Eriksen’s on the other side of the attack. More often than not having both players on the pitch adds double the creativity and double the potency, but occasionally it means that Tottenham look especially one-dimensional.

With Sissoko, Tottenham will have a balance between penetrative passes and aggressive runs forward. Stoke City — and other opponents at home and abroad — will not look forward to dealing with an attack that offers such contrasting styles in the same XI.

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Though Nkoudou might not be expected to be thrust into the rigors of a Premier League start just yet, like Sissoko he could offer a change of pace should Tottenham need it. He’s a wide player, clever with a cross and a dribble. Should Pochettino again elect to switch things up to a two-striker system, having a player like Nkoudou play the wide midfielder in a 4-4-2 might be ideal.

Unlike in seasons past, Tottenham’s bench can expect to play a big role in the coming season. Heung-min Son and Victor Wanyama will join Nkoudou and Sissoko as the most likely candidates to come off the bench to supplement or cover for the preferred starting XI. If they can perform, there’s a chance they might find themselves as Pochettino’s first choice soon enough.