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Ange could repeat Spurs’ Maddison masterclass with swoop for £45m “machine”

While Tottenham Hotspur have not tasted victory since the end of October, Ange Postecoglou can take great solace from his side’s last clash in the Premier League.

Clinching an enthralling 3-3 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, injury-ravaged Tottenham showcased their newfound skills under Postecoglou’s guidance, with the Australian appointed in the summer after the club toiled to an eighth-placed finish in 2022/23.


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Dejan Kulusevski’s magnificent late-leaping header illustrated the never-say-die attitude that Postecoglou is striving to instil, and while the excellent start to the campaign that left Spurs in first place has been hit, there is much to look forward to with the new era shaping up.

But Postecoglou certainly has his work cut out, with Spurs’ thinness the underlying frailty that has disrupted the flow, and if the winter period can be weathered, then the January transfer window opens up a window of opportunity to build from, ensuring that Champions League qualification remains within reach.

Tottenham transfer news – Kalvin Phillips

According to transfer insider Rudy Galetti, Spurs are mulling over signing Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips in January, with the England international on the fringe with the treble-winning side and seeking an exit.

Newcastle United are understood to be in pole position for the £45m man, who City will happily let leave if a suitable fee is presented.


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Tottenham are prioritising the acquisition of a centre-forward – with Heung-min Son deputising (admirably) up front following Harry Kane‘s sale – but when the market swings open its shutters Daniel Levy could ramp up his interest.

Kalvin Phillips’ style of play

Having been so far below par last term, few expected Tottenham to blitz into the ascendancy in the fledgling phase of a new chapter, but Postecoglou’s methods and mentality slotted in perfectly to spark optimism anew.

Candidly, Tottenham need reinforcements, and they need them big time. Influential summer signings James Maddison and Micky van de Ven are both sidelined until after the new year; Rodrigo Bentancur is out for months having only just returned from a knee injury; AFCON and the Asia Cup draw near, with a whole host of stars to be absent for around a month.

Levy and his transfer team will be busy, and Phillips would be the perfect addition to strengthen the centre – though whether the Sky Blues would grant his departure on loan or a permanent deal remains to be seen at this stage.

Having made just 29 appearances in arriving in 2022, Phillips has scarcely made a mark on Pep Guardiola’s outfit, starting just once this season so far – in a 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat against Newcastle United.


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Ruthlessly branded “overweight” last season by the sagacious Spaniard last term, the 5 foot 9 Phillips’ prospects of cementing a prominent role in Manchester look decidedly slim, and with the European Championships commencing next summer, the 31-cap England ace will need to start playing regularly.

Despite his inactivity, Phillips is a composed and cultured player and ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion and passes attempted, the top 5% for clearances and the top 17% for blocks per 90, as per FBref.

On £150k-per-week, Phillips will simply be yearning for a place on the pitch, and Tottenham could undoubtedly solve that conundrum, presenting the 28-year-old with a platform to build his Premier League career back to where it was during his days as the nucleus at Leeds United.

Having chalked up 234 displays for the Whites, Phillips was instrumental in guiding the outfit back into the English top-flight and revelling in a tremendous return in 2020/21, where Marcelo Bielsa’s men finished ninth, with 59 points.

Kalvin Phillips: Premier League Stats 20/21

Statistic

#

Appearances

29

Starts

28

Goals

1

Assists

2

Pass completion

85%

Key passes

1.2

Tackles

2.6

Interceptions

1.6

Clearances

1.7

Dribble success

63%

*Sourced via Sofascore

Described as a “machine” by reporter Jordan Campbell, Phillips would bring the industriousness and the tenacity to hold the Spurs centre together, and having been proven to be a star in the Premier League before, this might be the perfect move for Postecoglou’s blooming squad.

Why Tottenham should sign Kalvin Phillips

Should Spurs accelerate their interest in Phillips, Postecoglou would have a new cog to whir the engine room into life. Think Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg with a bit more panache.

John Stones once dubbed Phillips an “outrageous” player, and while he has failed to break into City’s first team, there is a real talent in there that Postecoglou could nurture back to prominence.

Should a deal be concluded this winter, it could even mark a replica of the summer plundering of Leicester City for Maddison, who made the move to London following the Foxes’ relegation.


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Maddison is indeed out injured at the moment but the void has been felt, no doubt about that, with the 26-year-old scoring three goals and supplying five assists from his playmaking position in the middle, earning August’s Player of the Month award and leaving onlookers such as the Times’ Henry Winter remarking that he is one of the “buys of the summer.”

As per FBref, the £170k-per-week gem ranks among the top 5% of positional peers for assists, the top 1% for shot-creating actions and the top 6% for progressive passes per 90, highlighting just how profound his creative influence is.

It all could have been so different, with Newcastle – now suitors for Phillips too – maintaining a vested interest in the star since 2022, with the Magpies failing with a £50m offer, following up such interest with discussions this summer, though Spurs edged ahead and completed a transfer.

Beating off Eddie Howe’s outfit to another England international could be a brilliant move from Tottenham and a statement that they can compete for a coveted spot in the top four.

Phillips is undeniably a talented midfielder and could bring the kind of mettle and fortitude that Tottenham need to settle the equilibrium and ensure that Champions League football remains attainable next year.

Postecoglou’s project is in its early stage and the fact that he engineered such stellar form across the opening months of the campaign is extraordinary, but now the time is right to build and fortify, and ster closer toward success.


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