Tottenham must not allow Lewis Holtby to leave

Lewis Holtby

According to reports, Tottenham Hotspur ‘could allow’ midfielder Lewis Holtby to leave White Hart Lane in January.

The Daily Star, amongst other factions of the tabloid press, assert that the 22-year-old German midfielder could be granted a departure in January, only a year after his arrival in North London.

Spurs’ signing of attacking midfielders Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela along with defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue and box-to-box man Paulinho means the German starlet will have an abundance of competition for his place in Andre Villas-Boas’ team week in week out.

The departure of Gareth Bale has not been a positive, as it could have been, for Holtby who arrived this January from Bundesliga side Schalke. His form last term as he adapted to the intensity of the Premier League saw him underwhelm on numerous occasions but his performances so far this term for Spurs have been impressive.

I have asserted my firm belief that Holtby is one of the finest midfield prospects on the continent, alongside the likes of Jack Wilshere, Spain’s Isco and his compatriots Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos, Ilkay Gundogan, Aaron Hunt and his new teammate at Spurs Danish darling Eriksen.

However, with the World Cup just around the corner next summer, Holtby will have his work cut out for him to even get a call up to Joachim Low’s Germany squad ahead of his aforementioned colleagues – especially if he is not getting regular access to first-team football with Tottenham.

So far he’s featured once for Spurs in the Europa League, scored one goal and made one assists and if he can keep his form and fitness at that level, he’ll likely be able to keep his place but, with the huge number of new arrivals and the increased likelihood of squad rotation, Holtby may fear for his status and subsequent inclusion at international level.

He has yet to feature in Villas-Boas team in the Premier League. His form last term was not great and was certainly way below his standards in his homeland prior to January. For Spurs he featured 11 times in the league and 6 times in Europe, scored no goals and made just two assists – not exactly the form to inspire selection for either club or country.

However, prior to his departure at Schalke, he scored 4 goals and made 7 assists in 19 Bundesliga appearances, as well as three assists in the Champions League. The previous season, in 2011/12, he managed 9 goals and 5 assists in all competitions.

Compare that to Eriksen who, even this season prior to his move, managed two goals and four assists for Ajax in just five appearances kicking on from last term with the Dutch giants for whom he scored 13 goals and 23 assists across all competitions.

The 21-year-old Dane will likely be his main competitor but the form and fitness of the other four midfield signings may also have an impact on his chances. Holtby needs games to improve his form and he needs time, trust and faith in his exceptional ability to build his confidence and develop into the player he is capable of becoming but is he going to have that at Spurs from Villas-Boas?

If not, he may feel his decision to move to England was a mistake and look to find another club if possible but Spurs must not let Lewis Holtby leave – given the time and opportunity to improve and prove himself, he will, and Spurs must ensure he achieves that at White Hart Lane and not at another club.

image: © xtranews

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