Tottenham Hotspur Transfers: 10 Players to Replace Modric and Bale
With Harry Redknapp gone from the dugout and no immediate replacement forthcoming, the future of Tottenham Hotspur and their top players is far from certain.
The north London club have had to fend off attention from other clubs for star playmaker Luka Modric and winger Gareth Bale, most notably when they staunchly refused to entertain interest from Chelsea for the former last summer.
Now with no Champions League football next season and no manager at the helm, it will be more difficult to persuade the pair to stay if other clubs make big bids for them.
But there are plenty of players out there who—while perhaps not immediate like-for-like replacements—Spurs could sign with a view to them developing into players as good if not better than their current top assets.
Here is a list of 10 footballers—five each for both Modric and Bale—that Spurs could target if they have to sell. As ever, feel free to add your own candidates below.
Initially deployed in a more attacking role, manager Martin Jol showed great trust in the former AZ Alkmaar player by dropping him back into a deeper role with more influence.
There, Dembele has shown how adept he is at patiently distributing the ball and dictating the tempo, as well as making more than his fair share of tackles.
CSKA Moscow's playmaker has been mentioned as a potential target for many of Europe's top clubs over the years, yet a big move has never been forthcoming.
Many have questioned the Japan international's attitude and work rate, but there is no questioning his ability.
From dead balls or from a deep-lying role in open play, Honda's supreme technique and accuracy are ideal to pull the strings in the Tottenham midfield.
After a few wayward years, Brazilian playmaker Diego looks to have rediscovered his best form for Atletico Madrid.
The 27-year-old's loan spell in Spain culminated in the Rojiblancos winning the Europa League, but it seems financial constraints are likely to prohibit him from moving to the Spanish capital permanently.
If Felix Magath, manager of parent club Wolfsburg, cannot settle his differences with the temperamental player, Diego could soon be on the market and would be ideal for a club like Tottenham.
This was supposed to be the tournament at which Eriksen fully established himself as one of Europe’s hottest properties. After impressing as the youngest player at the World Cup two years ago, Euro 2012 was the time to show the 20-year-old had fully come of age.
Denmark made an admirable but unsuccessful attempt to escape Euro 2012’s designated “Group of Death”—beating Netherlands 1-0 but losing to Portugal 3-2 and Germany 2-1—but the Ajax midfielder failed to take his opportunity to impress as much as some of his international teammates.
In spite of that, Eriksen’s talent is still there in abundance, and his sub-par showing in Poland and Ukraine may actually take some of the attention away from him and allow Spurs to swoop.
It’s a name to send a shiver down the spine of many a Liverpool fan, and one which is often brought up when chronicling the demise of Rafael Benitez’s managerial career, but Alberto Aquilani possesses a very similar skill set to Modric.
Few would put the Italian in the same league as his Croatian counterpart, but Aquilani has proved since his injury-plagued year at Anfield that he can fill the same role with aplomb in his loan spells at AC Milan last season and at Juventus the year before.
Liverpool do not seem interested in keeping hold of the Italian, but if he decides he still wants to prove himself in England, then the ideal vacancy may be opening up at White Hart Lane soon.
The Belgian attacker may not exactly be the most welcome presence in England—it was he who shoved Gary Cahill into Joe Hart during a pre-Euro 2012 friendly at Wembley, which resulted in the defender breaking his jaw.
However, the diminutive wide player could be an ideal addition to the Premier League with his pace, trickery and eye for goal.
The 25-year-old scored a highly impressive 21 goals in the Dutch league for PSV Eindhoven, as well as 16 assists.
Even accounting for the more competitive Premier League, Mertens could offer plenty from the left wing for Spurs.
Not being European, the hype around Argentinian winger Gaitan has subsided somewhat during the big recruitment fair that is Euro 2012.
The 24-year-old was perhaps the standout star of Benfica’s highly talented midfield last season, thanks to his five assists in the Champions League last season.
Manchester United were one of the teams that suffered at the hands of Benfica, and Tottenham may have to wait and see if the Red Devils make a move before they know if they have a chance of signing him.
There can be few free agents in English football as eligible as Junior Hoilett this summer.
With Blackburn Rovers relegated to the Championship and his contract at Ewood Park expiring this summer, the 22-year-old attacker should have his pick of top clubs.
The Canadian has terrorised right-backs during his time at Rovers, and he would be an ideal replacement for Bale should the Welshman depart.
Schalke may have last season’s top scorer—Klaas-Jan Huntelaar—among their ranks, but there is a young winger 10 years the Dutch striker’s junior who is making a real name for himself at the Veltins Arena.
Draxler is just 18 years old, but he is already one of the most promising German prospects not on Borussia Dortmund’s books.
The left winger has already been capped by his country and looks set to be a superstar of the future. It would be very difficult for Spurs to prise him away from Schalke, but if they could they could have a real player on their hands.
The Slovakian never got a fair crack of the whip at Chelsea as a teenager, but since moving the Turkish giants Fenerbahce, he has begun to show his potential.
The 22-year-old has just finished his second season in Istanbul, in which he scored 10 goals and claimed another four assists in the Turkish Super Lig.
Before that, he had won the Dutch title with FC Twente. Now may be the time for him to return to the Premier League and show his true worth.