The focus is back on Hugo Lloris after a week which has brought some questionable performances from the Tottenham Hotspur captain.
Jose Mourinho’s side fell to a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday evening and a strong defensive performance in the first half was offset by some suspect handling by the Frenchman either side of the break.
The 34-year-old got a hand to Rodri’s first half penalty but with a weak wrist could only help it on its way into his net.
Then early in the second half, Ilkay Gundogan, who won the spot kick, found himself in front of goal and his weak shot rolled towards the line and again the keeper could only flap a hand at it as it went past him.
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Lloris could do little about the German’s second goal, which was sent into the bottom right corner of his goal and while he did make a couple of late saves, it was another performance that will shift the focus on to him.
The Spurs skipper had also been disappointing at Everton in the midweek FA Cup fifth round defeat at Goodison Park, similarly getting a weak hand to a Dominic Calvert-Lewin shot in the first half.
Tottenham fans will feel they have been here before with Lloris, but it’s hard to see this as more than just a bad week for the Frenchman.
His last real gaffe came back in December at Crystal Palace when he spilled Ebere Eze’s set-piece and Jeffrey Schlupp netted an 81st minute equaliser.
That day Mourinho came out and said about the French World Cup winner: “My goalkeeper is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League so I would never be critical of the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, period.”
There was a period under Mauricio Pochettino when a section of the fanbase wanted Lloris to be dropped in favour of the Argentine back-up goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.
Pochettino made it clear that the Frenchman was his number one choice and stuck by him.
In the Mourinho era, Lloris returned from the serious elbow fracture that ruled him out of the final months of Pochettino’s reign and following the football restart he came back as a man refreshed for the remainder of the season.
Working with a new goalkeeping coach in Nuno Santos, the experienced stopper put in a long run of consistent performances for Mourinho that bridged between the two seasons, aided by less need to play the short passes and possession play required of him in Pochettino’s final seasons.
That came to a close this week with his two questionable displays against Everton and Manchester City, although it could be argued that his match-winning saves of old have been less frequent this season.
Two off-colour performances are unlikely to shake Mourinho’s confidence in one of the few winners he has in his squad, with Lloris also the captain of the France squad.
However, Spurs will need to look to the future and what happens after Lloris in terms of his successor.
The 34-year-old has previously said that he does not expect Tottenham to be the last club in his career, with some suggestions that he would like to return to France to end his playing days.
His rivals for the number one spot are not in a real position to take it off him.
Gazzaniga, now 29, has been sent out to La Liga strugglers Elche on loan for the remainder of the season without playing a minute for Spurs this season.
Joe Hart, signed on a free transfer last summer, ousted the Argentine from the number two spot at the club, but the former England international turns 34 in April.
Lloris will not believe he is coming to the end of his Spurs’ tenure just yet but the club must start planning for the future.
Previous instances of inconsistent form from the Frenchman have been fixed by his work on the training ground and he has returned to top levels again.
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However, age is not on Lloris’ side any more and the man who will inherit the gloves at some point must be identified and the process begun of bringing him into the club.
Lloris’ contract situation does not help his position or the club’s either, with just 16 months remaining on his current deal.
If an extension is not agreed then Tottenham will have little option but to make a move in the summer transfer window for his successor.
The goalkeeper area of Mourinho’s squad is one that will not produce much in funds from outgoing sales to bring in a new face.
With academy goalkeepers Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman clearly not considered ready to step up yet, Spurs will have to look further afield.
With the club’s foreign player limit issues, there could be a temptation to go for a British keeper, with Burnley’s Nick Pope likely to be on various club’s radars.
Dean Henderson’s long contract at Manchester United and plans for him to be David De Gea’s successor make a permanent move for him out of the club unlikely.
Spurs know they must get it spot on with Lloris’ heir for the coming years.
If there’s one position in the squad that the club must get the right man in for the long-term, replacing a goalkeeper who will have spent nine years between the sticks by the summer, it’s in that role and nationality should not be a deciding factor.
Other London sides have struggled initially to replace long-standing goalkeepers when their time has come to an end..
Lloris is not done yet, far from it, but plans must be laid for his heir at Tottenham Hotspur.