It is clearly going to be a summer of change at Tottenham Hotspur. Most recently, longtime midfielder, Moussa Sissoko was talking about the end of his time with the team. Unlike some players the Spurs may lose, like Harry Kane or Serge Aurier, Tottenham has a readymade replacement for Sissoko in Oliver Skipp.
Tottenham smart with Skipp last season
22-year-old Japhet Tanganga spent another season in neutral, playing only 921 minutes across 13 appearances. Instead of Tanganga gaining valuable game experience and Spurs getting more senior-level game tape, the young defender continues to tread water and the team needs to add both a right-back and a center-back.
Alternatively, 20-year-old Oliver Skipp was given the opportunity to go on loan at Norwich City. Skipp made 47 appearances in all competitions and played nearly 3,900 minutes. Sure most of those appearances were in the Championship but they were real appearances, at the senior level, in one of the best, most competitive leagues in the world.
On top of all the minutes, Skipp was an integral part of a title-winning team. Experience hunting down a trophy is not something to take lightly and now Skipp has it.
There is no doubting Oliver Skipp would have helped Tottenham this past season but he never would have logged the kind of minutes he did at Norwich. Harry Winks, a player Skipp could be competing for time with, played less than 2,000 minutes this past season. Skipp played more than Winks and Tanganga combined.
Spurs, Skipp will suffer growing pains
In the ideal world, Skipp would probably spend one more season at Norwich and gobble up a full season in the Premier League before coming back full-time to Tottenham. However, this is not an ideal world and with several midfielders potentially departing in the summer, Skipp will be needed now.
The good news is after a full season at Norwich, Skipp has gone through the wars and should be ready to contribute.
Skipp brings a different skill-set to the midfield than does someone like Sissoko. While both can defend a number of areas of the pitch, Sissoko is the more likely of the two to go forward and contribute in the final third. One reason Skipp could use another season at Norwich.
However, Oliver Skipp has a range of passing that Moussa Sissoko has never possessed. It is this footballing acumen and knowledge of what to do with the ball that will bring something desperately needed to the deep midfield for Tottenham. With Skipp as his partner, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg can play a more advanced role and help create a more effective team defense.
Skipp is not perfect, is a bit undersized, and is coming off a major injury to end his season. That said, he has shown the kind of promise that should excite fans and make the exodus of Moussa Sissoko a bit easier to handle, unlike some other departures that may occur.