Ange Postecoglou admitted before last week’s game against Manchester United that his playing group is “too big as is” and that the “focus” would be on “trimming the squad down”.
That is proving somewhat tricky though, with the future of three players in particular still under a cloud.
Starting with Hugo Lloris, The Athletic reported last week that Lazio and Tottenham are in talks about a potential deal but there is a key stumbling block.
Lazio is after a free transfer while Spurs want a small fee while also complicating matters is the fact Lloris himself does not want to be the second option at goalkeeper, per The Athletic.
Of course, at Lazio that would be the reality given he would be playing behind last season’s Serie A goalkeeper of the year Ivan Provedel.
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“I’m not really across it,” Postecoglou said last week when asked about Lloris’ future.
“With the outgoings I have very little control over it. My focus has to be on what’s in front of us and who’s training. I’m assuming that as we get closer to the end of the window everything will accelerate.”
It has been a similarly frustrating process when it comes to Tanguy Ndombele, with the French international another name to monitor before the end of the transfer window.
Ligue 1 side Rennes are said to be interested in signing the midfielder on loan while there has also been interest from Turkey.
Ndombele though apparently has no interest in playing there while the Spurs are said to want between €15m ($A25m) and €20m ($A34m) for the 26-year-old according to The Athletic.
Put simply, a resolution does not seem close for Ndombele, who signed with Spurs on a club-record £55.4 million ($A110m) fee in the summer of 2019.
“Spurs don’t want him, with Postecoglou unimpressed with his timekeeping and general attitude and application, but no interested club has yet been able to come up with a good enough offer,” The Athletic report claimed.
Then there is Eric Dier, with The Athletic again reporting his future at Tottenham “remains in the balance”.
Spurs are said to be “keen” to move him on before the deadline given his contract runs out next summer.
But, as is the case with Lloris and Ndombele, there is a point of contention between club and player. On this occasion, Dier is said to prefer a move for free next June.
Dier is yet to be included in any of Postecoglou’s squads this season, although the Australian played down that fact when asked about the 29-year-old’s future last week.
“Eric is part of this team. We left a few out,” Postecoglou said.
“We left some players on the bench that are very good players. We need a strong squad, it’s not about 11 players.
“Eric is in the same boat as all the other boys. He’s working hard in training and available for selection.
“My decisions then are what I think will give us the best chance of success for any given game and then we reassess the week after. Nothing really unusual there.”
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The Athletic though reports it is more complicated than that, claiming Dier has three options — “leave now on a permanent deal, move on loan until the end of the season or stay and fight for his place”.
A permanent transfer is “unlikely” according to the report, although Dier is said to be open to a loan if it is the right move for him. Dier has also previously said he is prepared to fight for his place under Postecoglou.
Postecoglou was asked about the team’s broader transfer plans last week, revealing the priority is on “trimming the squad down”.
“The reality of it is we can’t just keep acquiring players,” he said.
“We’ve got too big a squad as it is. It affects the training, the players themselves because they all want to play and be involved.
“It’s not so much one has to happen for the other but our focus at the moment is trimming the squad down and seeing where that takes us in terms of reinforcements.
“We’re assessing that on a daily basis. There’s still two weeks to go in the window and I’m sure you’ll see some movement.”
Meanwhile, although there is a glaring hole left up front by the departure of Harry Kane, Postecoglou said the club is not “necessarily” prioritising filling that void first.
“I know that’s the obvious place people look at because of recent outgoings but we’d been planning for that for a while,” he said.
“There’s still areas we can strengthen in all our lines: defensively, midfield, up front. Again that’s not just bringing players in for the sake of it. They have to fit the profile we’re looking at.
“We’ve purposefully gone a bit younger because we want to build a team here. It’s not about putting the finishing touches on something, we’re building something here. So that’s the mind of profiles we’re looking at.”
While there is plenty of discussion surrounding who could be out the door at Tottenham, one player who is staying put is Pape Matar Sarr.
Sarr, who scored in Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Manchester United, was a man in demand over the summer according to prominent transfer reporter Fabrizio Romano.
“Tottenham received more than four approaches this summer for Pape Matar Sarr. Despite strong interest in talented midfielder, club considered him untouchable since day one,” Romano tweeted.
“Ange Postecoglou rates Sarr as top talent and didn’t want to give green light to loan deal.”
MAN CITY SET FOR $130M SPLASH… BUT LOSE PLAYER TO SAUDI
Elsewhere, multiple outlets are reporting that Manchester City has agreed to a €65m ($A130m) deal to sign Rennes winger Jeremy Doku.
Doku will fill a clear need at City, who have been looking to bolster their attacking starts after the departure of Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Arabian team Al-Ahli last month.
The transfer is pending a medical examination later in the week but a verbal agreement is in place according to Romano.
There is potentially more movement at City too with defender Aymeric Laporte set to depart for Al Nassr.
Sky Sports claims the two teams have agreed to a three-year deal worth £25 million ($A50m) for Laporte, who will now undergo a medical to complete the move.