Tottenham have already welcomed three new players to Hotspur Way this summer, with a number of others expected to join in the next couple of months. However, Antonio Conte needs to also assess the squad he already has and who he can see fitting in his plans for next season.
Spurs will return to Champions League football for the 2022/23 campaign, with these matches added to their already busy fixture schedule. This means the Italian needs to increase the size of his squad, to give him the option to make rotations which he will have to make.
The lack of quality in the depth of the Tottenham side was made clear last year, with a lack of confident options on the bench. Conte will need to let some players go this summer, but will also need to make some decisions on those returning from loan spells.
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One of these players is Pape Matar Sarr, who will seem a new signing anyway, with the 19-year-old being loaned straight back to his former club (Metz) after the Lilywhites bought him last summer. The midfielder made 33 Ligue 1 appearances last season, starting in 22 of those games, giving him vital game time.
The youngster has been praised by many and has already shown glimpses of his glowing potential. Last September, Fabio Paratici waxed lyrical about the Tottenham man.
“I think Pap is one of the most talented in Europe. Our job is not only to look for tomorrow but to see further, over the following years. I think we made a great signing,” he admitted.
“All over Europe they talked about it, a lot of teams were interested, a lot of people were there to sign him, so we made a very good acquisition. He needs experience, he needs to play games, to stay in a team and to play regularly. It is a great investment for the club and for the future.”
As Paratici alludes to, the game time Sarr got from his loan spell would’ve given him added experience before his arrival in north London. Conte will need to assess the 19-year-old’s situation and decide what is the next best move – does he stay in N17 and work hard and start his Tottenham chapter? Does he go out on loan abroad again? Or does he go on loan to an English side, to help him start to adapt to English football?
This is a decision that the Italian will need to make and former Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson, has already given his verdict. “Sarr has been out on loan. He played a lot in France last year which will have only done him good,” the former shot-stopper told Football Insider.
“A lot depends on what the manager thinks going forward in the future. You would think that a player of that age, that has been out on loan in France, it will do him no harm to do the same again.
“Send him back out. Players’ careers can be held back. It can be detrimental to keep them in the squad for the sake of it,” Robinson added.
The 42-year-old went on to explain why he believes another loan spell could be so beneficial. “If he is only going to be a substitute on a couple of occasions next year he is far better going out on loan again,” he said. “We saw last season what he can do playing regularly. Another season like that will be great for his development. I can see him going out on loan again.”
As Robinson highlights, if the Senegal international is going to struggle for regular match minutes, it isn’t likely to help anyone. Tottenham will now have a big battle for the two central midfield spots with a strong quartet, if Harry Winks does leave this summer.
Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur, Oliver Skipp and Yves Bissouma will be battling for the central spots and with his lack of experience, Sarr may struggle to compete. There will come to a point when the 19-year-old will have to settle into the Spurs squad and try and fight his way to the top of Conte’s midfield pecking order, but perhaps it is still too early and another temporary move away could be better.
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