Tottenham’s exiles to be welcomed back?

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 25: Georges-Kevin Nkoudou
HARRISON, NJ - JULY 25: Georges-Kevin Nkoudou /
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Tottenham’s transfer window ended with the expected flurry of activity, but some faces surprisingly remain.

Throughout the window, it seemed a foregone conclusion that a select few players would not last the season at Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino clearly had his favorites, and those on the periphery of his plans tend to be sold or loaned out.

Among those players — perhaps chief among them — was Kevin Wimmer. The Austria international centre-back clearly didn’t feature in Pochettino’s plans last season, especially as Eric Dier rose up the depth chart.

The arrival of Davinson Sánchez sealed his fate. His sale to Stoke City last week for £18 million came as no surprise consequently, and indeed benefited both club and player.

Wimmer’s sale felt like the beginning of the end for the rest of those extraneous members of the first team. And yet the transfer window deadline came and went without any of them moving.

Moussa Sissoko was the subject of a small handful of possible moves this summer, including a promising loan move to a Turkish team that might be more at his level. He even stayed back from Tottenham’s pre-season tour of the United States, a move that many assumed presaged his departure.

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Nothing concrete ever materialized though, and somehow he managed to make it into the starting XI for Spurs’ opener at Newcastle. His poor performance there forced a return to the bench and — it seemed — a possible exit from the club.

The Frenchman remains at the club however, as does his countryman Georges-Kévin Nkoudou. The former Olympique de Marseille winger suffered through an uneventful first season with Spurs in 2016/17, and he seemed destined to go the way of Clinton Njie this summer.

Only no loan or permanent move ever developed. Nor were there much, if any, rumored links to other clubs. Nkoulou began his pre-season training with the under-21s, and impressed enough to be included in the team’s tour of the US. An injury has thus far kept him out of matchday squads, though presumably that will change as he gets healthier.

Finally, there’s Vincent Janssen. Spurs’ underperforming backup to Harry Kane made plenty of rumblings this summer about a move on to find a better opportunity. Despite some rumored last minute interest from West Brom and Brighton though, Janssen stayed put at Tottenham. He suffered the added supposed indignity of being thrust down the depth chart with the arrival of veteran striker Fernando Llorente.

It’s possible that the club would have more proactively moved on these players if replacements were brought in. Spurs were rumored to be interested in plenty of different attacking players, including Max Meyer and Keita Balde, whose arrival would have presumably forced Pochettino’s hand in regard to at least Sissoko or Nkoulou.

With none of those attacking signings materializing, Pochettino will have to make due with what he has — which isn’t as bad as it sounds.

It’s possible to write off Nkoulou and Janssen’s first season with the club. Plenty of new signings take time to adjust to the Premier League. Some, like Spurs’ Heung-min Son, find that their second season with the club is significantly better than their first.

Next: Tottenham sign Fernando Llorente

Sissoko’s poor inaugural term at Spurs is harder to justify, but it never hurts to have an extra body as cover. Just maybe he can begin to repay the sizable fee Spurs paid for his services.

Spurs still lack depth in some key areas, but at least they held on to some pieces that might still prove to be valuable.