Heading into the final day of the transfer window a central midfielder would not have been top of most Tottenham fans’ shopping list. But with André Gomes set to join from Barcelona, the North Londoners might have pulled off a coup.
That would not be the view held by most Barça fans, however. The 24-year-old’s time at the Camp Nou has largely been seen as something of an aberration; the disastrous signing which typified last summer’s slap-dash recruitment drive.
Snapped up from Valencia for an initial €35million – rising to €55million if certain clauses are met – the hope was Gomes could ease the load on ageing skipper Andrés Iniesta and, eventually, replace the Spain icon as the heartbeat of the side.
But he has failed miserably.
The Portuguese international, who helped his country win the 2016 European Championships, has been roundly criticised for his lack of conviction, hesitancy in possession and low output in terms of goals and assists.
But that is not to say Spurs would be signing a dud. When he joined the Blaugrana it was reported rivals Real Madrid had pulled out of the race to sign Paul Pogba in order to focus on tying up a deal for the Portuguese.
That deadline day deal failed to materialise and now Spurs are linked with making another attempt to sign the Barcelona midfielder this winter
According to the Daily Mail the Portugal international is “expected to leave in the New Year” after playing just 28 minutes of his club’s 2017-18 La Liga campaign.
The 24-year-old has started just once this season—in the second leg of Barca’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid—and his days in Catalonia could be numbered.
Thinking that he is set to leave, we look at how Gomes fit in at Tottenham? Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has an impressive array of midfield options, all of whom perform specific roles and fit comfortably into a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-2-1 system – the Argentine’s two preferred shapes.
Mousa Dembélé, Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier are Spurs’ current central midfield options. The signings of Davinson Sánchez and Juan Foyth should free up Dier to return to the centre of midfield where he appears to prefer playing.
But none of them have the same skillset as Gomes. A graceful, elegant playmaker, the former Valencia man will add guile, vision and a fine range of passing to midfield.
Whereas currently much of the onus is on Dembélé to orchestrate from deep, the arrival of Gomes could give the Belgian some help and add a new dimension to Tottenham’s midfield.
Spurs had been heavily criticised earlier in the window but have hit back in the last week with five arrivals. They will hope Gomes shows similar powers of recovery.