With James Maddison and Micky Van De Ven sidelined until after the New Year, and Manor Solomon and Richarlison assigned similar fates, a dip into the January transfer market has become nearly unavoidable for Ange Postecoglou.
For a squad lacking depth already, racking up so many injuries and suspensions in a short period may be seen as a killing blow, but with effective recruitment, these five players could prove to be significant difference makers for Tottenham Hotspur in 2024.
Santiago Gimenez – FWD – Feyenoord/Mexico
A potential signing for Tottenham this January, according to the mainstream media, is Mexican striker Santiago Gimenez. The highly touted forward has taken the Eredivisie by storm since his arrival in July of 2022 from Liga MX side Cruz Azul. In 60 games for the Dutch side, Gimenez has scored 38 goals while registering six assists across league and cup competitions. This season alone, Gimenez has 13 goals and three assists in just 12 Eredivisie games, while also chipping in a further two goals in the first two Champions League matches of his career.
A league and cup winner in both the Netherlands and Mexico at just 22 years old, Gimenez boasts an impressive pedigree and experience. Coupling his achievements with his raw goal-scoring ability, he would be a perfect compliment for Heung-min Son through the middle. Valued at €40.0m by Transfermarkt, Gimenez will cost a pretty penny for a signature, especially due to interest from other clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona. But, if Ange Postecoglou is serious about adding a ready-made addition to his forward line, there are few better options on the market than Gimenez.
Gift Orban – FWD – Gent/Nigeria
Another forward, and one whom Tottenham seemed extremely likely to sign during the summer transfer window is Nigerian forward Gift Orban. After a ferocious 2022/23 campaign that saw the player score 20 goals in 22 games, Orban has continued his electric form in the current season, scoring 11 goals through 20 games in all competitions. Orban’s four goals in five UEFA Conference League Qualifying matches paved the way for Gent to return to the competition for another season, with Orban scoring a further four goals in just three group stage matches this season, as Gent sit top of their group on 10 points.
Ange Postecoglou’s free-flowing, attacking football suits Orban’s play style and skillset perfectly. Orban’s speed and directness in front of goal would complement the creativity of Maddison and Dejan Kulusevski. Valued at €20.0m, Orban would be a relatively cheap option and likely capable of making a significant impact.
Marc Guehi – DEF – Crystal Palace/England
Depth at center-back has been an issue for Tottenham long before Postecoglou’s arrival. The acquisition of Van de Ven in the summer from Wolfsburg was a step in the right direction, but with the erratic behavior of Cristian Romero resulting in suspensions, and the inconsistent performances from Eric Dier, the lack of competent depth at center-back is still evident. With Van de Ven sidelined until after the New Year, Postecoglou looks set to test the market for a new center-back to pick up the slack. Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi should be at the top of the Australian’s shopping list which, according to Daily Mail, consists of Guehi, Jarrad Branthwaite, Malick Thiaw, Benfica’s Morato, and Goncalo Inacio.
Guehi, a 23-year-old English center-back, was linked with Tottenham over the summer, and for good reason as well. In 95 matches for Crystal Palace, the defender has contributed to 24 clean sheets, while chipping in with five goals and one assist. At 6’0 (1.82m), Guehi boasts impressive physicality, winning 4.6 duels per match in 2023/24.
A nine-time capped England International, and a U-17 World Cup winner with England in 2017, Guehi would bring experience and potential to Spurs’ backline, while still possessing much room to grow at just 23-years-old. Valued at €35 million according to Transfermarkt, expect Crystal Palace to demand closer to the region of €50-60 million for the center-back’s services. He may be a bit more expensive than other options, but Guehi is a ready-made solution to Tottenham’s depth problem, especially as Van de Ven continues to nurse his hamstring injury.
Sammie Szmodics – MID – Blackburn/Ireland
While Tottenham’s platoon of midfielders may be the most balanced, on paper, in the squad, Postecoglou can’t go wrong with bolstering the ranks in attacking midfield, especially since Maddison’s ankle injury is set to keep the Englishman sidelined until January at least. A more under-the-radar signing, but one that could prove to be a coup for the Australian side is Blackburn’s No. 10 Sammie Szmodics.
Szmodics, a 28-year-old attacking midfielder eligible to play for both Ireland and England, has been lights out to begin the 2023/24 EFL Championship season. In 16 matches for Blackburn Rovers, Szmodics has started every one of them, scoring 10 goals and recording two assists. The Irishman’s 10 goals have him first in the Championship’s Golden Boot race, and leading the league in combined goals and assists with 12. Szmodics’ 8.0 expected goals (xG) rank first in the Championship as well. Suffice it to say, the former Peterborough and Bristol City midfielder has found a knack for scoring goals.
At 28 years old, and being valued at just €3 million according to Transfermarkt, Szmodic’s experience and goal-scoring ability could be a great short-term solution for filling Postecoglou’s attacking No. 8 role in the absence of Maddison. And, once the Englishman is fit, the Irishman could still prove to be an impact player off the bench, similar to that of Manor Solomon. With Spurs and Blackburn completing business as recent as this summer, with Tottenham acquiring center-back Ashley Phillips for €2.3 million, a fee between €5-10 million should make for smooth negotiations between the clubs.
Jota – FWD – Al-Ittihad/Portugal
The fifth and final player on this list is a man Ange Postecoglou is quite fond of. A winger from his days at Celtic, and a player who suits the Australian’s play style effortlessly, Jota seems like a surefire signing to bolster the Lilywhites’ attack. Making 83 appearances across two seasons in Glasgow, Jota was the main man for Celtic, recording 28 goals and 26 assists. Capable of playing on both the right and left wings, Jota would slot right into the fold as competition for Kulusevski and Brennan Johnson, while also serving as an efficient partner for Son, particularly in transition.
Following the 2022/23 campaign, Jota made the switch from Scotland to Saudi Arabia, joining Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad for €29 million in July 2023. Yet, after five appearances where the U-21 Portuguese international scored just one goal, Jota was seemingly left out in the cold. Frozen out of the squad by Portuguese compatriot Nuno Espirito Santo, Jota failed to make a single appearance for the club between September 1st and October 23rd, seeing him play in only two matches over the past 2.5 months. The arrival of young Argentinian manager Marcello Gallardo may lead to a change in the 24-year-old’s fortunes, but if Jota is keen on a move away, Postecoglou and Tottenham should be among the first clubs to set up negotiations.