According to ESPN, Tottenham will release Federico Fazio, Nabil Bentaleb, Alex Pritchard and Clinton N’Jie, many of whom are in negotiations with other clubs. By releasing these players, the club stands to gain overall. Fazio has been surplus to requirements for a while and Pritchard is not top Premier League quality. But, the decision to release Bentaleb and N’Jie is harder to justify.
Should Tottenham Release These Players?
If Tottenham releases Fazio, it will finally spark a move long destined to happen. The 29-year-old centre-back is fantastic in the air but slow and unreliable elsewhere. He simply was too much of a liability to the team and could not be relied upon like Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Already sent out on loan to Sevilla, he has completely dropped out of Mauricio Pochettino’s favour. Whilst he may provide ample backup in terms of experience, it comes at the cost of match time for Kevin Wimmer. Wimmer, who has really impressed and already looks more competent at his far younger age. Making only 20 appearances, he has not found success and it is the correct decision to release him.
He has really impressed on his loan spells in the Championship and League One with Brentford and Swindon but has failed to push through into the first team. He is capable of competing in the Premier League, but he would be best suited to the middle to lower clubs. Spurs need top quality players to bolster the squad and he is perhaps a little too mediocre to really make things happen. Despite this, he has some good qualities. Mark Warburton said Pritchard “is very good tactically and technically with excellent dead ball delivery”. Indeed, his free-kick taking is impressive. Take his free-kick against Bournemouth or even the stunner against MK Dons as stellar examples of his ability. But, Spurs already have a world class free-kick taker in Christian Eriksen. Eriksen is also a better all-round player who Pritchard would never displace from the starting eleven.
The Cameroonian international has not had the chance to shine after missing five months of competitive matches. His ACL injury limited him to just eight league appearances, which now threatens his place at the club. In these matches, he did have some promise. His electric pace, good dribbling and the ability to change the dynamics of the match were all very impressive. On average per match, he managed to complete 60% of take-ons, created 0.25 chances and had 50% shot accuracy.
Relative to Nacer Chadli this looks promising; he has only 41% of take-ons and 37% shot accuracy on average. But, he has created more chances (0.83 per match). Statistics here are proving that N’Jie should remain an important squad player.
However, he pales in comparison to Erik Lamela, who creates 2.21 chances per match and has 54% shot accuracy. In addition, Lamela has actually played 2,181 minutes more than N’Jie, suggesting that he is consistently achieving these averages over the season. On the other hand, if he had been fit for a season, he would have managed closer to 20 appearances, boosting his stats. Also, take into consideration that he has only been at Spurs for one season. Lamela took a season to settle in properly and in the same way N’Jie might too.
With the rumour of Georges-Kévin N’Koudou buzzing around, it seems as though N’Jie’s fate is already sealed.
We know the club were upset about his contract negotiations, but we also know that he’s knuckled down & that he’s a great trainer.
— Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) July 23, 2016
Nabil Bentaleb did kick up a storm when negotiating his would-be five-year new contract. His eagerness to move to another club seemed to disillusion both fans and manager alike, which, on top of his knee injury, completely removed him from the first team.
It would be a loss if Tottenham releases him, as he has the potential to be a good player. His breakthrough season was astounding and easily proved his worth as a Premier League midfielder. This was due to his ability to break up play as well as create, supported by his industrious work rate and fitness. However, there have always been some large flaws in his matches, namely lapses of concentration. For example, when he assisted Manchester United‘s third two seasons ago. Every player has some kind of weakness; otherwise, it would be impossible to name a Ballon D’Or winner. Similarly, young players will have flaws and it is up to them and the manager to iron them out.
When Pochettino already has Victor Wanyama, Eric Dier and Mousa Dembélé in his squad, it becomes apparent that Bentaleb may not find the needed match time to improve. A loan deal would really benefit both parties, but it seems unlikely a deal will be found. It will be unsurprising to see him succeeding at another club in just a few seasons time.
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