Headed for the Exit? Who Might Leave Tottenham in January?

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Spurs player Dele Alli prepares to give his shirt to a fan in the crowd after the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on March 07, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Spurs player Dele Alli prepares to give his shirt to a fan in the crowd after the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on March 07, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) /

With the next transfer window only 7 weeks away the rumors about players going in and out of Tottenham have begun and several are interesting.

With the objective of winning titles in mind, Jose Mourinho and company are constantly looking for ways to improve their squad and increase the competition. At the same time, with the 2021 European Championship on the horizon internationally, playing time is a major consideration for players within the side. This careful balance of opportunity and improvement will be at the core of the January transfer window for Daniel Levy, Jose Mourinho, and everyone at Spurs. Who might be going out for Tottenham in January and why?

Tottenham Players Going Out?

There are really three names that have surfaced consistently with the senior team this term for consideration to leave in the January, Dele Alli, Harry Winks, and Gedson Fernandes. For all three the issue is about playing time but playing time for differing but similar reasons.

Gedson Fernandes

Fernandes may be the most complicated move as he is on an 18-month loan and both sides would have to agree to an early termination for a January exit. However, given the lack of playing time and even opportunity to play in Europa League – having been left off the squad – a return to Portugal would be in Gedson’s best interest.

Fernandes provided some cover when Spurs were short in early 2020, but ultimately needs too much seasoning for major minutes on a team competing for trophies at Tottenham’s level.  I even read a suggestion online if a loan player could be sent on loan, this was the time for it, but that is unrealistic. Unfortunately, for Gedson barring another injury crisis, he may be stuck in no-mans land settling for practicing with the squad until he returns to Portugal.

Dele Alli

Now Dele Alli and Harry Winks are different stories for different reasons, as both have been at the club for a long time with Winks, being an academy product. At this point, Dele Alli seems to have fallen deep down the pecking order for a role in the attacking midfield position, clearly behind Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, and Erik Lamela. All three have gotten opportunities to play in the attack since Dele last appeared for Tottenham.

Compounding issues for Dele is his limits in terms of position. Given one of Dele’s biggest issues since Mourinho arrived has been work rate, he is unlikely to get a look at a holding midfield position, thus is really fighting for only 1 spot in the set-up. With few positions available, and several Spurs in front of him, things look bleak. That said, the idea that Lamela, Lo Celso, and Ndombele all have a knock feels possible, meaning until a replacement is found, Dele too might be stuck on the fridges of the team. Not as far out of the circle Fernandes, but still on the outside looking in.

Harry Winks

Harry Winks is a different story altogether, because unlike Dele Alli and Gedson Fernandes, Winks is in the rotation and is getting playing time. However, in a recent interview, Winks suggested that he needs more consistent playing time to secure his spot on the England side for the European Championships. This situation is quite interesting, on the one hand you have a player who grew up in the academy, playing regularly, and possibly the best Tottenham side in years. On the other hand, is the possibility to play for one’s country and fight for a European Championship and being a nailed-on starter for one’s club really helps in the selection process.

From a fan’s perspective, right now Tottenham need Harry Winks as much as they did in the summer, when HotspurHQ wrote that Winks should not be sold. However, like Dele, there are questions about how perfect a fit Winks is for the system and some believe an upgrade is possible. At this point, until that upgrade is secured, Winks is needed.

Not only is Winks needed, the minutes he also seeks are there for the taking. Pretty much either he or Moussa Sissoko – at least for now – will be lined up next to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Of course, longer it takes for either Sissoko or Winks to make the position theirs, the more likely it becomes Lo Celso gets that shot more consistently.

It is a tough decision for Winks, but if you are either Tottenham or England you want the Winks that fights for his spot and contributes to a winner, not one who is handed an automatic start. At least that is the concept of competition anyway. Some are meant for it, others are not, depending on who goes or stays in January may tell us a lot about who wants to compete and who wants to simply play. With that in mind, we hope both Dele and Winks are still here – barring upgrades – and for Gedson, this should be the end of the road.