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  • Anmol Kanodia
  • February 28, 2019 11:10:45 AM
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Pierre-Emile Højbjerg: The story so far

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is all set to join Tottenham on a permanent deal from Southampton. According to Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham have completed the signing of Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg for a transfer fee of €17m. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has just one year remaining in his contract with Southampton and the transfer could be official anytime...

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is all set to join Tottenham on a permanent deal from Southampton.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham have completed the signing of Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg for a transfer fee of €17m. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has just one year remaining in his contract with Southampton and the transfer could be official anytime soon.

Højbjerg has bossed the number 6 role under manager Hassenhuttl and his impressive performances in the past two seasons have attracted interest from various top clubs. Tottenham desperately needed a defensive midfielder, having not being able to replace Dembele, who left for China last season. We have all heard about Højbjerg in Southampton but very few know that he is a Champions League winner. Let’s take a look at his career.

Youth Career

After spending six years playing for BK Skjold and F.C. Copenhagen he joined Brøndby IF  at age of 14. He views Zinedine Zidane as his good example. At Copenhagen, he was often played as a striker. But it was at Brondby where he started playing in the central midfield. He often featured as the right midfielder there.

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At the age of 16, he was awarded the title of ‘Danish U-17 Player of the Year’ in 2011. Two years later, he was named the ‘Danish Talent of the Year’.

He joined Bayern Munich in 2012 and played for Bayern Munich II in the Regionalliga Bayern. He made 44 appearances for Bayern’s reserves and scored 12 goals in the process.

Senior Career

He made his senior team debut for Bayern in 2013 against FC Nurnburg as a substitute. He was part of the Bayern team that won the treble in 2012-13. He was loaned to Augsburg in January 2015 and spent the remainder of the season there. He made 16 appearances for the Fuggerstädter. He was again loaned out to Schalke for the whole 2015-16 season. He made 30 appearances for Die Königsblauen including six in the Europa League. At the end of the loan, he made it clear that he wants a move away from Bayern for more first team opportunities.

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In the summer of 2016, Southampton signed Højbjerg on a five-year-deal for a transfer fee around £12.8 million. He made his Premier League debut for the Saints against Watford after coming on as a substitute for James Ward-Prowse. He helped the Saints reach the EFL Cup final in 2017 but was an unused substitute in their loss against Manchester United in the final.

His first goal for the Saints came in 2018 when he opened the scoring for the Saints in their 2-0 win over Wigan in the League Cup. In December 2018, manager Ralph Hassenhuttl named him the captain of the team. He scored four goals in the 2018-19 season, which is the highest tally in his senior career. He made 38 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20. He was stripped of his captaincy after publicly speaking about his desire of leaving the club. But he remained to feature for the Saints.

Possible role at Tottenham?

Mourinho played a whole season without a number 6. Now that the club has qualified for Europa League, Mourinho desperately needs one. Mourinho always had a defensive midfielder who can win balls in the midfield. This role was popularised by Makelele at Chelsea under Mourinho. Højbjerg is nowhere near Makelele but he does just that. The Danish international averaged 10.6 ball recoveries in the Premier League last season, more than anyone in the league. Only Paul Pogba has a better ball regaining stat than Højbjerg in the Premier League.

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He played as the defensive midfielder ahead of the four-man defence in a 4-4-2 formation at Southampton. He has an impressive defensive stat but he could be asked to perform a different role under Mourinho. Tottenham deploys a 4-2-3-1 formation and he could play as a pivot alongside Ndombele (if he isn’t sold), who will have a more attacking role. A midfield of Ndombele, Lo Celso and Højbjerg could become one of the most formidable midfield in England.

During his days at Bayern Munich, he was rated very highly by Pep Guardiola. The author of ‘Pep Confidential’ Martí Perarnau said of Højbjerg: “Pep had heard good things about Højbjerg before coming to Bayern and it has taken just a couple of training sessions for him to fall in love with the player. Pep thinks he may have just found the Sergio Busquets of Bayern.”

Whatever it may be, if Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho rate you highly, you’re on the right track of becoming successful.


Tottenham preparing to lure Maitland-Niles from Arsenal

The Sun report that Tottenham are preparing to make a surprise move for Arsenal’s versatile player Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Arsenal are looking to raise some funds through the sale of some of their stars such as Guendouzi, Torreira, Mkhytharian, Elneny, Sokratis and Lacazette, whom have all been reported to have been listed for a transfer move...

The Sun report that Tottenham are preparing to make a surprise move for Arsenal’s versatile player Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Arsenal are looking to raise some funds through the sale of some of their stars such as Guendouzi, Torreira, Mkhytharian, Elneny, Sokratis and Lacazette, whom have all been reported to have been listed for a transfer move away from the Emirates this summer.

It is understood that the club are being forced to sell the academy graduate against Mikel Arteta’s wishes, after finally winning the manager’s trust and forcing his way into Arteta’s plan.

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Considering Maitland-Niles’ performances during their FA Cup Semifinal encounter against Manchester City and his display against Chelsea at the final, it’s obvious that his performances has definitely improved lately, which earned him a place in the aforementioned important games which Arsenal eventually won in a remarkable fashion.

The versatile midfielder is already attracting interest from West Ham, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Fulham. Arsenal are believed to have placed £30million valuation on Maitland-Niles but a bid closer to £20million might be considered.

Although a move away from the Emirates seem unnecessary and a huge blow, as his versatility has being of help on numerous occasions, which has seen him playing at right back, left back, right wing back, left wing back, as a left or right winger and as a central midfielder.

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His intelligence, skills, pace, energy and recovery ability are those strengths that makes him so valuable to the team.

His consistency and improved performances lately are encouraging signs that the 22-yrs-old England international midfielder has gotten huge potentials which could be tapped into and fully maximized as the signs as shown.

Niles had been insistent on his desire to play in the midfield position, to cement a position for himself, rather than being moved across several positions. Meanwhile, the midfield position being eyed by Niles doesn’t seem to be lacking at the moment, as the position is being occupied by Xhaka, Smith-Rowe, Torreira, Ozil, Willock, Guendouzi and an imminent on loan return of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.

With the assurance of a place in the Spurs’ midfield, Maitland-Niles might be tempted to make a switch to the White Hart Lane this summer, as Tottenham’s manager Jose Mourinho is looking to assemble a strong team and have enough quality depths across every positions.

Maitland-Niles’ potential exit from the Emirates might just be one of the few worse decision Arsenal’s hierarchy would possibly commit.


Ajax keen on Ryan Sessegnon!

According to The Telegraph, Eredivisie side Ajax are keen on making a move for Ryan Sessegnon should Spurs make him available for loan for next season. Ajax recently sold Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea and a replacement for the Moroccan star has been identified to be the underperforming 20-year-old. Fulham were reportedly interested in taking Ryan...

According to The Telegraph, Eredivisie side Ajax are keen on making a move for Ryan Sessegnon should Spurs make him available for loan for next season.

Ajax recently sold Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea and a replacement for the Moroccan star has been identified to be the underperforming 20-year-old.

Fulham were reportedly interested in taking Ryan Sessegnon to the Craven Cottage on loan for next season but their hope of reuniting with their former academy graduate star might be jeopardized due to Ajax interest.

Since Sessegnon’s professional debut with the Cottagers, his popularity has grown and being praised by the fans and media.

In February 2017, the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport ranked Sessegnon as part of the top 30 Under-20 players in Europe, while in May 2017, Sports Illustrated also ranked him as the 19th-best Under-20 player in the world football.

Former Fulham’s striker Neeskens Kebano once called him “the future of English football”, with Stefan Johansen saying he was “99% certain that Sessegnon will be one of the top left-backs in the world”.

Around November 2017, FourFourTwo named Sessegnon in their 100 Best youngsters in the World list, comparing him with the likes of David Alaba and Ashley Cole. In February 2018, Sessegnon was ranked 10th in the most promising Under-20 category in the whole of Europe.

Sessegnon was included in the prestigious list named by CIES with other talented youngsters like Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in 1st place, while Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappé in 3rd place.

By April 2018, Sessegnon was included in the nomination for the EFL Championship Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season awards. Surprisingly, he also became the first Championship player to be nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

As at 15th April 2018, Sessegnon won as many as five awards when he was named Young Player of the Season, Apprentice of the Year, Championship Player of the Season and was named in the Team of the Season and EFL Club Developed XI.

During the 2017/2018 Sky Bet Championship campaign, Sessegnon had 46 appearances for the Cottagers, scoring 15 goals and also being credited with six assists, helping Fulham to secure Premier League promotion.

He was deservedly named the Championship Player of the Season at the tender age of 17, considering his unbelievable performances all through the season.

Following Fulham’s relegation into the Championship, Sessegnon signed a five-year-deal with an optional one-year extension with Tottenham, in a deal worth £25 million which also saw Josh Onomah go to Fulham.

Upon joining the Spurs, Sessegnon subsequently struggled for game time. The winger was tipped to realise his full potential, but a couple of injuries and lack of faith shown in him by Jose Mourinho has all but left him in shambles as he considers a move away from the club in bid for regular play time.

The 20-year-old only made six appearances in the just concluded 2019/2020 campaign, and wasn’t considered for selection after football resumed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Though Tottenham are said to be reluctant to sanction Sessegnon’s move away, but his urge for playing time might change the club’s stance amid the fear of his valuation been dropped drastically if he continues to be starved of regular game time.


Said Benrahma: On which side of North London would he end up

Tottenham have identified Said Benrahma as a transfer target for this window. The 24-year-old who is widely tipped as the best player in the Championship is set to stay in the second division of English Football after Brentford failed to qualify for the Premier League as they lost 2-1 to Fulham. The Bees would be...

Tottenham have identified Said Benrahma as a transfer target for this window. The 24-year-old who is widely tipped as the best player in the Championship is set to stay in the second division of English Football after Brentford failed to qualify for the Premier League as they lost 2-1 to Fulham. The Bees would be expecting offers for their star man, however an interest from a Top Six club is sure to raise eyebrows.

Benrahma has time and again talked about his loyalty to the club and how keen he is to take Brentford in the Premier League. However, after missing out on his target, it is now being reported that the forward could well be looking elsewhere for a move away into the top flight. And working under a manager of Jose Mourinho’s pedigree and at a club of Tottenham’ stature is for sure to attract him.

The former Nice man has also attracted interest from North London giants Arsenal. Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s head coach, has reiterated his wish to bring in more creativity into his team and he has also declared that he won’t just be relying on his midfielders to pump in more creativity into the team. In simple words, he’s looking for more creative input from the wings and Said Benrahma can fit the bill for the Gunners. However the Premier League outfit are believed to be wary of his £30 million price tag and with money tight at the Emirates, they can be priced out of any probable move.

Arsenal are looking at more creative ways of using the limited resources they have in their kitty and Chelsea’s Willian, who’s gonna be a free signing if a deal does go through, is more an efficient option than Said Benrahma. However, Benrahma’s future is still up in the air and the highly rated Brentford star could well end up on any side of North London.


Fulham set to pip Southampton for Walker-Peters’ signature

As per latest update from Standard Sport’s Dan Kilpatrick, it has been revealed that Fulham are bracing up to the idea of facing off with Southampton for the signature of Tottenham’s right back Kyle Walker-Peters. This interest comes after the London club sealed their return to the Premier League on Tuesday, via a 2-1 win...

As per latest update from Standard Sport’s Dan Kilpatrick, it has been revealed that Fulham are bracing up to the idea of facing off with Southampton for the signature of Tottenham’s right back Kyle Walker-Peters.

This interest comes after the London club sealed their return to the Premier League on Tuesday, via a 2-1 win over rivals Brentford in the Championship play-off final.

The Cottagers had earlier missed out on the opportunity to sign Walker-Peters’ on loan during January transfer window, which saw the Saints winning the battle for his signature on a six-month loan deal.

Although, Sputhampton and Spurs are said to be close to agreeing a £12million fee for the right back, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg moves to the opposite direction in a well outlined separate deal worth around £15million.

Fulham’s manager Scott Parker and his assistant Matt Wells are Walker-Peters’ great admirers, having worked with the 23-year-old right back in Spurs’ academy and they are well aware of his potential and quality.

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During his time with the youth team, he was also able to impress Tottenham’s former manager Pochettino while playing for the club’s U23 side. He had decent opportunities under Pochettino as he made nine appearances in the 2017-18 season and ten appearances the next season.

With Trippier leaving Spurs and Aurier being out of form, Walker-Peters was widely accepted as a regular starter for the team. But a hamstring injury hampered his progress massively. After coming back, his game time was reduced to just cup appearances.

His limited opportunity with the Spurs led him to consider a loan move to the Saints, so as to get the needed game time and get back into full fitness, which he has fortunately achieved playing at the St. Mary’s.

Getting back to form, Walker-Peters as shown that he’s an extremely talented modern-day full-back who offers versatility on the wings. He is technically gifted and has the experience of building up from the back. He offers a lot in the attack and combines well while going forward.

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Walker-Peters could provide a much-needed width to the narrow formation while attacking. However, he doesn’t offer physicality but he’s fast and agile.

Though he had been criticised at times for not being defensively good but that has changed recently. He has grown to be more ruthless defensively. He has shown the capability to produce outstanding performances on the right side of the field.

The former England U21 international has enjoyed his time on the south coast and has managed to win the heart of the Saints fans coupled with numerous praises from the manager who has expressed his desire to see the right back being retained, rather than letting him return to his parent club.

But as it stands, the player could be tempted by the chance to stay in London and be reunited with his former youth team managers Scott Parker and Matt Wells towards next season, as he would be guaranteed more playing time with the Cottagers.


Tottenham enter Said Benrahma race!

Tottenham are linked with exciting Brentford forward Said Benrahma ahead of the 2020/21 season. The Championship side are said to be prepared to part ways with their prolific attacker following their failure to secure Premier League qualification last Tuesday. Having scored 17 goals and provided a further 10 assists from Thomas Frank’s side, the Algerian...

Tottenham are linked with exciting Brentford forward Said Benrahma ahead of the 2020/21 season.

The Championship side are said to be prepared to part ways with their prolific attacker following their failure to secure Premier League qualification last Tuesday.

Having scored 17 goals and provided a further 10 assists from Thomas Frank’s side, the Algerian is hoping to make a step up into the next stage of his career by playing in the English top-flight.

But his hopes of gaining promotion with Brentford was ended after a heart-breaking 1-2 loss to Fulham at the Wembley Stadium.

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Benrahma has been previously linked with a summer move to fellow west London side Chelsea, but such reports have been cooled in the last few days despite being flattered by links to the Blues.

He said: “I was really flattered, but, at the same time, I am so focused about getting out of the Championship with Brentford that I do not pay too much attention. Of course, it is giving me confidence, but, at the same time, everyone has their own destiny so I’m just focused on myself and I don’t want to comp

“I always watched the Premier League, especially Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. I used to watch when Cristiano [Ronaldo], Thierry Henry and Hatem Ben Arfa at Newcastle were playing. Samir Nasri at Arsenal, too. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to play in England.”

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And Jose Mourinho’s side are reportedly ready to take advantage of The Bees failure to be promoted by moving for the 24-year-old this summer. The speculations also add that Brentford will demand at least £16 million for one of their prized assets, if they were to put him up for sale this summer.

Benrahma is very effective on both sides of the flanks but loves to cut-in from the right due to his natural right-foot abilities.

He would definitely be a good addition to the squad at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, if they are to improve their performances in the just ended season which saw them finish sixth.


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