Would this be the perfect central midfield trio for Tottenham next season?

Tottenham WHL

James McCarthy, Nabil Bentaleb and Fabian Delph - would this be the perfect midfield three for Tottenham?

Mauricio Pochettino may have achieved a fifth place finish in the Premier League at a canter in his debut season with Tottenham Hotspur, but there remain plenty of areas to be improved. 

The Argentine head coach is still yet to fully stamp his influence on the current Spurs side - this has been apparent throughout a number of lifeless displays last season - which is a concern that can, and most probably will, be addressed with relative ease throughout the summer transfer window. 

Pochettino's success at Southampton largely stemmed from a sense of solidity and strength in midfield; a factor he is yet to fully replicate at White Hart Lane. Operating with a holding, box-to-box and free-roaming midfield trio, the Saints defied expectations to achieve an hugely impressive top ten finish. 

Speculation has been rife with players being linked with a move to Tottenham, many of whom suit the criteria for a midfield we can expect to see under Pochettino. Indeed, should the Argentine secure the services of a select few of these names, Spurs could become a side to be feared ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Below is a realistic midfield line-up that could see the club challenge for Champions League football next season. 

James McCarthy 

According to the Liverpool Echo, Tottenham want to launch a bid for Everton's James McCarthy; an arrival that could revolutionise Pochettino's system. The holding midfielder, who has become renowned for his ability to read the game and break up opposition attacks, would be a truly impressive addition at White Hart Lane. 

Similar to the role played by Victor Wanyama under Pochettino at St. Mary's, the Republic of Ireland international would be deployed in front of the Tottenham back-four, tasked with intercepting the ball, winning duels and recycling possession. Playing a pivot role - just as he does at Goodison - McCarthy would drop into and smother any defensive space that opens up. 

Nabil Bentaleb 

Bentaleb is usually deployed as the defensive holder in a two-man midfield pairing for Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side. However, the arrival of James McCarthy could give him the freedom to push forward more regularly.

Throughout his development at Spurs, Bentaleb has always been a box-to-box midfielder, one who has always scored goals in the junior age groups. However, when he first burst onto the scene at White Hart Lane, he was used in a more defensive capacity by Tim Sherwood; a trend that has continued under the club's current head coach. 

The 20-year-old has been awarded much more attacking freedom than he is used to at club level by his national side Algeria, where we have seen his most promising performances - particularly at last summer's World Cup. Should he be given the same license for Spurs, Pochettino's side would reap the rewards.

Fabian Delph

Recent reports, as per The Sun, have also linked Tottenham to Aston Villa's Fabian Delph; a player whose release clause of just £10 million could prove too tempting to resist. The former Leeds man is renowned for his energy in the centre of the park and, amid speculation surrounding Spurs' interest, he would be perfect man for the tip of Pochettino's midfield triangle. 

The England international has emerged as a key player at the Midlands club in recent seasons and he impressed again last term as the club reached the FA Cup final. He emerged as the Villans' most creative player, fashioning 36 key passes across 28 appearances, while he completed an impressive 82% of his attempted dribbles. 

What does this mean for Christian Eriksen?

A central-midfield three of McCarthy, Bentaleb and Delph would, of course, force Eriksen out wide - a role he played on occasion under Pochettino last term. Would this move would nullify the attacking threat posed by the Dane? The stats suggest, no.

In fact, Eriksen was actually more productive when playing in a wide role last term. Indeed, playing through the middle he scored 0.19 goals and assisted 0.04 per appearance, while on the flanks he averaged 0.36 goals and 0.07 goals per game. 

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