Tottenham Hotspur are having the time of their lives in the Premier League this season and are relishing the title race against Leicester City. Although Leicester has been absolutely outstanding, it could be argued that Spurs have been the better of the two sides and played the more attractive and sustainable football.
Whether Spurs win the title or not in 2015/16, the foundations are there for a bright future over the next few campaigns. They have secured Champions League football and will be able to attract world-class players to strengthen the squad even further and provide depth. But there are a few key players who have been pivotal to this recent success. Keeping hold of these budding stars and allowing them to develop further will, therefore, be key to reaping the rewards in the future.
Harry Kane seemed to come out of nowhere last season and emerged as one of the top strikers in England. At the beginning of this campaign he got off to a slow start, and pundits started to say he was a one season wonder. Ruud Gullit even stated that he thought Kane was more suited to the number 10 role. It turned out that opposition defences were aware of Kane’s ability, so the player had to work harder and think of different ways to break through.
This has caused Kane, who is now a sure starter for Roy Hodgson’s England team, to develop rapidly and become a much more refined forward than he was a year ago. Some of the goals he has scored during this campaign have been nothing short of breath-taking (see above) and he has already surpassed his goal tally of last season with four games to spare.
Kane is well on track to claiming the Premier League golden boot and earning another PFA Young Player of the year award, which makes him essential to Spurs’ future. And at only 22 years old, he is set to get better and better. In a few years’ time, he could be one of the top strikers in the world.
It is unlikely that Kane will want to move away from White Hart Lane just yet and he will be loyal to the manager who has nurtured him and given him this chance to grow. Spurs should look to tie him to the club for as long as possible but also aim to buy another striker to share some of the load next season. If Kane were to have suffered an injury during this campaign, the table could look a lot different.
Mauricio Pochettino gave a chance to another youthful recruit with tremendous potential this season and Alli has relished the opportunity. After starting out as more of a holding midfielder, it soon emerged that Alli’s outstanding talents were more suited to an attacking role. He has quickly solidified his position in the starting line-up for Spurs and is also an integral part of the new-look England side.
Odds on favourite to claim the PFA Young Player of the Year award, Alli shows awareness, technical ability, and finesse that is way beyond his years. The 19-year-old clearly has a wealth of talent that Pochettino knows how to tap in to. It would be unwise for Alli to seek a move to another club just yet, although he will be sought after by some of the top sides, who have the cash to spend.
No matter what kind of cash deal may be on offer, Alli holds more value for Spurs if they keep him at least for another few years. He still has some way to go to become a complete player, but some of his goals and skills (see above) this year have shown the immense natural ability that he possesses.
Alderweireld is arguably the signing of the season. He has played every minute of Spurs’ Premier League campaign and is the main reason they boast by far the best defensive record in the top flight. At the time of writing. Spurs have kept 13 clean sheets and conceded only 25 goals, compared to Leicester and Manchester City’s 33 goals conceded a piece. Alderweireld had formed a solid partnership with fellow centre-back Jan Vertonghen and when the latter suffered a layoff through injury, some thought that the defence would become more porous. Instead, the Belgian struck up another great alliance with Kevin Wimmer. In the nine-game absence of Vertonghen, the two of them managed to keep four clean sheets.
Not only has Alderweireld proven to be a great defensive asset, he has also helped out at the other end. He has assisted goals by quickly playing the ball out from the back, and he has been a constant threat in dead-ball situations, with four goals to his name for the campaign already. With the current philosophy of many Premier League sides to play counter-attacking football, it is so important to have a strong defence. Alderweireld could be the backbone of this Spurs side for many years to come.
It is imperative that Spurs keep hold of these players, along with some of the other stand-out performers of this campaign, and then look to build on this next season. In the years to come, Tottenham could be a force to be reckoned with.