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Leverkusen links nothing to get excited about for Spurs fans

| 25.08.2016

One of the many trusted devices to tell if a transfer window is coming to a close is if Tottenham transfer rumours take a sudden surge.

Sure enough, with under a week to go to buy players this summer, hoards of would-be arrivals are being linked to White Hart Lane.

There’s been a rejected bid for Inter Milan’s Croatian Ivan Perisic. A £15m offer for Wilfried Zaha. A hastily arranged swoop for Espanyol goalkeeper Pau Lopez. The long-winded pursuit of Georges-Kevin N’Koudou that could rival the Paul Pogba chase. And, finally, interest in Hakan Calhanoglu.

Whether any of those players are really and truly required in north London is debatable, but it’s the latter that is perhaps most unnecessary.

Calhanoglu, a Turkish international that didn’t enjoy the best of European Championships this past off-season, is an attacking midfielder for Bayer Leverkusen.

In his 94 all-competition games for the club he has scored 21 goals and laid on 22 assists. That ratio, which works out slightly worse than contributing to a strike once every other game, is fairly impressive considering the German-born midfielder is only 22.

However, there appears to be no obvious way to fit him in to Mauricio Pochettino’s rather settled starting XI.

Last season, and in the first game of this term, the Argentine fielded a 2-3-1 formation ahead of his first-choice back five.

Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele were the pivots. Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela interchanged in the attacking strata and Harry Kane played up front.

The two additions Spurs have made this summer have both added depth to that system and given the former Southampton boss options.

Victor Wanyama can cover for either Dier or Dembele, as he is currently doing in the middle of the park, while Vincent Janssen arrived as Kane’s backup.

However, the Dutch striker’s presence has already seen Pochettino field a two-man strike force in the outing against Crystal Palace, albeit with Kane in a more withdrawn number 10 role.

Even if the England star were to suffer an injury, Eriksen or Alli could deputise behind Janssen so it’s hard to see Calhanoglu forcing his way into the reckoning in his natural position immediately.

Suggestions that width-providing pair Heung-min Son and Nacer Chadli could be on the way out don’t free up game time for the Leverkusen man either, as he rarely occupies a wide berth in Germany.

Instead it feels like one of a number of false dawns Spurs fans will have to put up with between now and the window “slamming” shut.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.