Tottenham Hotspur are in a strange position defensively
Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has made very clear in recent weeks that he is not happy.
With just five points from four games that’s understandable. But it is the question marks over key players at the club which has upset him.
Christian Eriksen’s expiring contract is a frustration, but it is the team’s defence which is the big concern.
In the short term, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are one of the best centre-back duos in the world.
The problem is, Spurs can’t help but look beyond this season.
The Belgian duo both have contracts which expire in 2020. Tottenham could lose both of them for nothing.
With question marks at left-back and right-back too, a full scale defensive renovation might be necessary.
Kieran Trippier was sold in the summer and it is unclear who Tottenham’s long term right back will be. Kyle Walker-Peters has the chance to make the position he, but he is not there yet.
It is clear Danny Rose, 29, is not viewed by Spurs as the long term option either.
Tottenham have foreseen these issues and have been trying to plan ahead.
Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth were both bought two seasons ago and each have potential to become first team regulars.
Sanchez’s form this season has not been great, and there are big questions over whether he is going to be part of the solution or not.
Ryan Sessegnon has been bought and is viewed as a potential Rose replacement, but the jury is out on whether he is a long term left-back, or left winger.
An attempt to solve the right-back spot with Serge Aurier has flopped, and the jury is out on Walker-Peters as a long term option still.
With the heart of the defence facing being ripped out, keeping goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is key.
Fortunately he is under contract until 2022, and has recovered his form after a major dip in 2018.
However he turns 33 in December and a further downturn in form this season might see Tottenham reconsider his future too.
All of these factors add up to a major headache for Mauricio Pochettino and his team.
Vertonghen and Alderweireld can fix them by renewing their deals, but until this is done, uncertainty remains, and it doesn’t help the team in the present much either.
Spurs have been trying to gradually phase in a new group of defenders, potentially Sessegnon, Sanchez, Foyth and Walker-Peters can be their new back four, while youngster Japhet Tanganga is a very exciting prospect.
But if these players do not improve, or struggle for form, and the Belgian duo do not commit, Tottenham may have no option but to rip it up and start again.
This may be what Mauricio Pochettino really wants to do, and why he is concerned whether Spurs have the budget to commit to such a full on task.