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Hugo Lloris' New 5-Year Deal Is Better Than New Signing for Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris watches play  during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at the White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press
Thomas CooperFeatured Columnist IVNovember 23, 2016

Early on Thursday morning, Tottenham Hotspur announced that Hugo Lloris had signed a new five-year contract.

While their top-four rivals have already spent heavily in this summer transfer window, Tottenham have thus far kept their heads down (though they do share a fondness for raiding Southampton with Liverpool and Manchester United).

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Southampton on the touch line during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James' Park on December 14, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Eng
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

New manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope to bring in some players of his own, of course. But in many respects, confirming Lloris' north London stay is even better than a new signing.

There had been speculation of interest in Spurs' first-choice goalkeeper throughout 2014, chiefly from Ligue 1's big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain. Bleacher Report's French football expert Jonathan Johnson was among those to note the newspaper talk:

It might work out that Lloris does not go on to fulfil his extension. Gareth Bale signed a new long-term contract of his own in 2012, only to leave for Real Madrid a year later. The similarly highly regarded Frenchman's suitors will not go away forever either.

Still, it wards them off for the time being, and it gives Spurs a summer of peace in regards to Lloris. Crucially, it also allows some scope to build for a future in which they hope he will be a crucial part.

Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

Prior to this new agreement, there was less flexibility—there were two years left to run on the deal the player signed upon his arrival from Olympique Lyonnais in 2012.

It was enough time to mean that Spurs were unlikely to sell this summer, even if Lloris had been hesitant to extend (at least one more year of such a top-class performer would have been worth more than any transfer fee they could have received). But it was close enough to the point where they would have needed to consider their options.

Even accounting for the toeing-the-party-line rhetoric typical of such statements, Lloris' take on confirming his Spurs stay—via the club's official website—is detailed enough in its sentiment that it should be seized upon as a reason to be optimistic by the club's supporters:

I spoke with the chairman and I know the club is as ambitious as ever. It’s very important to feel at home at a club and for my family to feel well. I enjoy a great relationship with the club and the fans. The arrival of Mauricio Pochettino is important as well. I have a good feeling with him. He is also ambitious.

Everything is clear in my head and if I’ve signed a new contract it’s because I trust the club and I’m sure we will progress in a positive way.

Fresh from his part in his country's run to the World Cup quarter-finals, playing in the Premier League and Europa League with Spurs appears to be enough to satisfy the France captain competitively for now.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 30: (L-R) Mathieu Valbuena, Olivier Giroud, Hugo Lloris, Rio Mavuba and Mathieu Debuchy of France celebrate after defeating Nigeria 2-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between France and Nigeria at Estadio N
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The challenge of succeeding with Spurs—sixth last season in England—clearly still holds some appeal for Lloris, even if it is not one that will last forever without progress. He pointedly noted "last season wasn’t the season we all hoped for." But also that "we know where we have to improve, the club also knows and there is a feeling and a confident connection between the club and the players."

It will have been conveyed to him that he is integral to Tottenham's chances of improving and fulfilling such ambitions.

Bar a slight blip in form as autumn gave way to winter (perhaps exacerbated by a head injury suffered away at Everton), Lloris was excellent again last season—his second in England.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Spurs conceded 51 times and had the worst goal difference (+4) of any team from first to eighth in the Premier League. Nobody would have put that down to their goalkeeper's performances. But for Lloris making genuinely miraculous saves, heavy losses to teams like Liverpool and Manchester City could have been even worse.

As with any great goalkeeper, Lloris matches the spectacular with sound fundamentals. As evident in a personal reflection of some of his best Spurs stops, as voted for by fans:

The continued presence of such a solid, reliable figure gives his new boss, Pochettino, a proper foundation to build on.

Only time will tell how well Tottenham will fare under the Argentinian. The chances of them doing so are all the better so long as Lloris is around to help.

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