5 Players Spurs Should Sell This Summer
New Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is looking to sell at least five players this summer, according to Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph.
Rumsby writes, "Pochettino revealed he wanted a squad of 'no more than 25' going into his first campaign in charge, five fewer than are currently listed as first-teamers on Spurs’ official website."
This would require some serious pruning, and there is no doubt that the current Spurs squad is in desperate need of it.
Following the influx of names last summer in response to the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, the group at White Hart Lane are a mixed bag. Pochettino will likely have highlighted areas needing improvement, having been in charge for almost three months now.
Here are five players Spurs could and should sell this summer.
Cameroon defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto has long been somewhat of a misfit at Spurs, and a spell on loan at Championship side QPR last season underlined the player's status at the club.
The 30-year-old made 31 league appearances for Harry Redknapp's side last season, but the thrifty manager has yet to express any further interest following the London club's promotion to the Premier League.
Per West London Sport, the 67-year-old was critical of Assou-Ekotto's performances for the R's, claiming "For me he was in the best three left-backs in the Premier League when he was at Tottenham. I don’t think he’s quite reached the heights [at QPR.]"
It is unlikely that the left-back will find an admirer in Pochettino, particularly following Spurs' big-money signing of former Swansea City defender Ben Davies.
Another move is most likely this summer.
Position: Right-back, Left-back
Full-back Kyle Naughton was part of a £10 million double move from Sheffield United in 2009 along with fellow Englishman Kyle Walker.
Such was the then-youngster's form for the Blades during the 2008/09 season that Naughton was named in the Championship Team of the Year—at this stage, the full-back was arguably of higher potential than his teammate.
Now, Walker finds himself a regular England international while Naughton flounders.
The 25-year-old made 22 Premier League appearances last season, with his versatility an endearing quality in the eyes of Tim Sherwood.
However, as seen particularly in a disastrous showing against Southampton, Naughton is not of the quality required at the club.
Few would bemoan the sale of the defender this summer.
Position: Centre-back, Defensive Midfield
Signed from Ligue 1 side Toulouse in a £9 million deal last summer, Etienne Capoue has never quite seemed at home at White Hart Lane.
The French utility man made just 12 Premier League appearances in the Spurs' No. 15 shirt last season, scoring once, and looked out of sorts on more than one occasion—the seven-cap international was especially tame when deployed at centre-back.
The 26-year-old was the subject of an offer from Serie A side Napoli in January at a value of £8.25 million, according to David Hytner of The Guardian, with the Tottenham hierarchy digging their nails in for a higher fee.
Now, under new management headed by Pochettino, perhaps Capoue will swing that second foot through the exit door.
Current Spurs captain Michael Dawson has been at odds with various managers in recent years and, within Pochettino's ambitious system, could be one casualty of the manager's vision.
Fellow Premier League side Hull City are firm admirers of the defender, with Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reporting a £4 million bid in June, and the 30-year-old would no doubt suit Steve Bruce's style of play.
However, analysing the strengths of Pochettino's most significant defensive signing while in charge of Southampton, Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren, outlines perhaps why Dawson will struggle under the Argentine.
The current Liverpool defender is adept at reading the game and accomplishes his defensive duties effectively, with aggressive interceptions and a true quality on the ball paired with the leadership qualities more in line with those of Dawson.
The Englishman struggled within Andre Villas-Boas' high defensive line last season, particularly in the 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool.
This most succinctly underlines the deficiencies in Dawson's game.
Pochettino will be looking for a dominant central defender comfortable with leading the line both vocally and physically. On that level, Dawson would not be the right man.
Spanish striker Roberto Soldado was one of the "marquee" names to move to Spurs last summer as part of the rebuilding process following Gareth Bale's sale to Real Madrid.
The former Valencia man was tasked with supplying the goals the White Hart Lane side were lacking from their forward line, as the aforementioned Welshman dug the side out of trouble on various occasions in 2012/13.
Unfortunately, Soldado's maiden season in the Premier League didn't fare as well as perhaps hoped: In 28 appearances, the striker scored just six goals, assisting a further five.
The 12-cap international appeared unable to effectively hold up play as a lone striker or, equally, continue a fast-moving attack. These could be described as hallmarks of a Pochettino striker, with Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez examples of these respective qualities.
Soldado has reportedly been the subject of a loan bid by La Liga side Atletico Madrid in recent days, per Matt Law of The Telegraph, and while the club are currently said to be "stalling" on a decision, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Spaniard depart the Premier League this summer.
Which players should Spurs sell this summer? Let us know in the comments below.