Tottenham Hotspur’s dismal run of form continued last weekend as they were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa – a third straight Premier League defeat.
Ange Postecoglou’s side went into the international break off the back of losses to Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers and were unable to bounce back with a positive result against Unai Emery’s side.
The caveat, of course, is that Spurs are missing several key players through injury and their performances have been affected by that.
James Maddison, Richarlison, Micky van de Ven, and Manor Solomon are among those who have been out in recent weeks, whilst Cristian Romero has been suspended since his red card against Chelsea.
Spurs injury news – Rodrigo Bentancur
Postecoglou’s injury woes continued against Villa as central midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur was forced off during the first half with an ankle knock after a late challenge from Matty Cash, as the Poland international completely missed the ball and clattered through the midfielder.
The Uruguay international is now set to be on the sidelines until February after suffering a torn ankle ligament as a result of that tackle.
This means that the talented gem could be out of action for nine Premier League matches at least, possibly more if his return is not until the latter stages of February.
It is a particularly cruel blow for the former Juventus man as he recently returned after a 254-day absence with a cruciate ligament injury, which caused him to miss a staggering 36 matches for club and country.
Bentancur must now recover from this latest setback and attempt to return to make a big impact on Tottenham’s season during the second half of the 2023/24 campaign.
Whilst there is little Postecoglou can do in the short-term to cover that loss, the Australian head coach could dip into the transfer market in January to bolster his midfield options.
Spurs transfer news – Adam Wharton
According to 90min, Spurs have joined the race to land promising Blackburn Rovers central midfielder Adam Wharton at the start of 2024.
Spurs are eyeing up the teenage starlet but could face competition from several other Premier League clubs; including Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle United, and Manchester United.
However, they are said to have a strong relationship with the Championship outfit after their deal to sign central defender Ashley Phillips from Ewood Park over the summer.
This could, potentially, give them the edge over their top-flight rivals in negotiations with Rovers over a deal for Wharton, should they decide to firm up their interest with an offer for his services.
However, there is no mention of how much the second tier side would demand for his services, or whether or not they would even be prepared to listen to offers during the upcoming January transfer window.
Spurs, though, must now push to land the teenager as his arrival at the start of January could ease the blow of losing Bentancur for Postecoglou and afford the midfielder more time to recover.
Bentancur’s Premier League statistics
Since his move to Spurs in January of 2022, the impressive midfielder has caught the eye with his contributions at both ends of the pitch.
He has the engine and quality to make an impact defensive and offensively for Tottenham, which makes him a well-rounded box-to-box ace who can thrive in transitions.
Bentancur made 17 Premier League appearances during the second half of the 2021/22 campaign and created six ‘big chances’ – resulting in four assists – to go along with his 90% pass success rate.
The talented maestro followed that up with five goals and two assists across 18 league appearances for Spurs during the 2022/23 campaign.
He also made 3.6 tackles and interceptions per game whilst winning 53% of his duels, which shows that the former Serie A ace has the ability to win possession back for his team on a regular basis.
Bentancur also displayed a willingness and ability to drive forward with the ball as he completed 1.2 dribbles per match to push his team up the pitch by committing opposition defenders and driving into space.
These statistics show that he offers a presence in both boxes and Spurs will now miss him over the next two months, and possibly beyond if his injury woes persist.
Adam Wharton’s season in numbers
Bringing in another central midfielder to compete whilst Bentancur is out could ease Postecoglou’s struggles and provide more competition for places moving forward.
With this in mind, Wharton could be an excellent signing to fulfill that remit as the 19-year-old would come in as a long-term addition and may not be upset to not play regular minutes upon the Uruguay international’s return, given that he is currently playing Championship football.
The left-footed whiz, who was described as an “exciting” English prospect by talent scout Jacek Kulig, has enjoyed an impressive start to the season with Blackburn.
Wharton in 22/23 Championship (via Sofascore)
Duel success rate
James Maddison (2.8) is the only Spurs central midfielder with more than one key pass per match and this suggests that they lack creativity in that area of the pitch.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who came on for the injured Bentancur against Villa, has averaged 0.1 key passes per game across 12 Premier League outings.
This suggests that the Rovers star has the potential to come in and offer an outstanding creative threat in comparison to Postecoglou’s current options in that position, with Maddision and Bentancur both injured.
Wharton is also able to offer quality out of possession as he has averaged 3.7 tackles and interceptions along with 5.6 ball recoveries per match this term.
Yves Bissouma (4.9) is the only Tottenham midfielder who has made more tackles and interceptions per game than the Championship ace this season.
These statistics suggest that the Spurs target has the potential to be an excellent option for Postecoglou both in terms of his defensive and offensive contributions from a midfield position.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the 19-year-old would be able to translate that form to Premier League level. However, his impressive performances at such a young age suggest that it would be a worthwhile gamble to ease the blow caused by Bentancur’s injury.