Tottenham can’t possibly want Ross Barkley or Gylfi Sigurdsson

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Ross Barkley of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Watford at Goodison Park on May 12, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Ross Barkley of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Watford at Goodison Park on May 12, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images) /

As the season concludes and the transfer window approaches, Tottenham seem set for a summer of dizzying and nonsensical transfer rumors.

There’s nothing new about that. Tottenham’s secretive and toilsome history on the market only invites speculation and, at times, outright fabrication.

That Spurs find themselves one of the best teams in England for the second season running, and will come into the 2017/18 term among the title favorites, only allows these rumors to reach more fevered heights.

Of late these rumors seem laser-focused on Everton’s Ross Barkley. The 23-year-old attacking midfield bruiser is entering the last year of his contract and continues to decline the Blues’ attempts to offer him a new one. The club, then, are forced to sell their academy product while they still can.

Those are the facts. We know as much because Ronald Koeman has made this a rather public affair, often issuing ultimatums and deadlines via the press in some likely futile attempt to call Barkley’s bluff.

From there, though, things begin to get sketchy — though it’s not hard to trace the providence of the Barkley-to-Spurs rumor.

At 23, Barkley’s still young and impressionable. He’s also English, has plenty of experience in the Premier League, and can both take and dish out a tackle or three. He is very much in the mold of what Mauricio Pochettino wants in a midfielder.

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The problem — so the rumor-mongers tell us — is that Everton simply want too much money for Barkley. Perhaps as much as £50 million. One can imagine the grimace on Daniel Levy’s face.

So, following along with the logic of this narrative, they turn their gaze elsewhere. Who else might meet these broadly qualifications — and might also be available for cheaper than Barkley?

Ah, of course, Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Swansea man is a dynamic, kinetic footballer with a knack for a free-kick. Plus, he’s already played for Spurs once before and he did okay! So, sure, let’s have a go at him.

Though he’s unquestionably the best player at the Welsh club, it’s conceivable that they will be anxious for the funds to finance Paul Clement’s rebuilding over the summer. Maybe Spurs can get away with paying half what Everton is demanding for Barkley.

All of which might add up and even be entirely believable if, you know, Spurs actually needed another attacking midfielder.

As it stands at this moment, it is not clear match-to-match how Pochettino will fit all of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son into the same starting XI. It happens, sure, but it’s a struggle that will only get worse when Érik Lamela is fit again.

What’s more, all of those players are still very young with years left on their contracts. Eventually, too, Pochettino will presumably want to leave some room for the Academy youngster Marcus Edwards, who he himself has compared to Lionel Messi.

And then, of course, there is the still unresolved futures of Moussa Sissoko, Georges-Kévin Nkoudou, Josh Onomah and Clinton Njie.

So, long story short, it is already a very crowded corner of the dressing room. Why would Spurs put so much money on the table — and, with a new stadium to finance, even £25 million for Sigurdsson represents a lot of cash — to only add to the depth of what is already the deepest position on the roster?

Now, that same exact logic didn’t stop Spurs from buying Sissoko for £30 million last season. If anything, though, the epic failure of that transfer should serve as a reminder of how not to act this summer. In sum: don’t break the club’s transfer record for a player who might only make eight starts all season.

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There are plenty of unknowns that don’t factor into this assessment. Maybe Levy is open to entertaining bids to sell one of those aforementioned starters, and they need to get a head start on adequate replacements. That nightmare scenario is unlikely but still very much possible.

For right now though, with the facts we have at our disposal, there is no reason to take these rumors seriously.