Clive Rose/Getty Images
Paulinho could be a hot property in world football come August if he has enjoyed a good World Cup.
Spurs alternated formations last season. The new manager may have a preferred set-up (more like Villas-Boas), or favour a more flexible approach (like Sherwood).
In predicting how the midfield and attack will look for opening day 2014, two trends/developments from last season influenced the forthcoming selections.
Even with some likely departures, Spurs will still have a number of their current central midfielders. Secondly, the importance of wingers to the team's style decreased in the wake of Gareth Bale's sale and intermittent effective campaigns from Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend.
The latter pair are still talented options to call upon. But while Townsend certainly still has time to improve and earn a regular starting spot, at the moment it is not so imperative to accommodate either. Especially with the form and/or potential of others more demanding of a starting spot.
The following midfield three is based on the assumption the team's full-backs will provide width either side of them. What the new manager has in mind for young players like Nabil Bentaleb and Tom Carroll is uncertain, too, with the seniority of others perhaps seeing them edged out to begin with.
Injuries and disagreements with Sherwood hurt Sandro in 2014. But in a second-half cameo against West Ham United, and a strong showing against Aston Villa, the defensive midfielder reminded everyone why aggression and discipline are useful anchors to the more adventurous inclinations of a team.
Paulinho had down periods last seasons, but he was one of the more successful of Spurs' summer signings.
When instructed, he did not shirk defensive responsibilities. However, his clearly preferred strong suit was joining in his side's attacks, resulting in a creditable eight goals.
With a year's Premier League experience, and possibly off the back of a successful World Cup campaign, a confident Paulinho will be expected to up his production even further.
Selecting Mousa Dembele for the last spot was the toughest call. The aforementioned Bentaleb and Carroll, Etienne Capoue, Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson all have their own credentials. A new signing could yet join the fray if one or more of the current midfielders departs.
Dembele is a player whose attributes understandably appeal to coaches, though. Strong and skillful, his success winning tackles and taking others on reflect his ability to impact on both sides of the ball.
His 91 per cent average pass accuracy was the best of any Spurs player to play more than one game last season—as recorded by Squawka—demonstrating his reliability here. Still under scrutiny, however, is his ability (or is that willingness?) to impact games in the final third.
It is not a midfield trio to delight those wanting revolution. Heck, even perhaps evolution. But it is balanced, and of those immediately available to the incoming coach, will provide decent support to the likely next part of the team.