Thursday, March 30, 2023

Tottenham Hotspur Transfers: Why A Loan Move For This Supremely Talented Midfielder Makes Sense

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

During Tim Sherwood’s brief tenure in charge of Spurs at the end of the 2013/14 season, a very young Nabil Bentaleb broke into the first team squad of the Lilywhites. The Algerian international looked like a real deal for the North London giants for plenty of years to follow. A home-grown talent, the youngster followed up his impressive showing with Spurs’ managerial change from Sherwood to Pochettino but then came the youngster’s nightmares with injuries and now the defensive midfielder looks like a forgotten name at White Hart Lane.

The 21-year-old signed a new five-year deal at White Hart Lane last summer after impressing in Pochettino’s first season at the club but the Algerian international was unlucky last campaign. The 21-year-old could make only five Premier League appearances in an injury-hit campaign last season and was not taken on the club’s pre-season tour of Australia, where Spurs will play Juventus and Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup.

Even last summer, Bentaleb looked like an integral part of Spurs’ plans for future but how much things change in one year. While the Algerian was struggling to bid a goodbye to his injury scare, Spurs saw an incredible career transformation of Eric Dier who cemented his place as the club’s first-choice defensive midfielder.

bentaleb getty

Bentaleb’s place at the side is long gone due to the amazing displays of Dier as midfield enforcer and with Spurs signing Wanyama, it looks like Pochettino is not even seeing the 21-year-old as the backup. The Daily Mail claims that Spurs are willing to let the 21-year-old join Portuguese giants Benfica on a season-loan deal. It would be a very wise decision from the Lilywhites if they ship the Algerian on loan and watch how he fares before permanently axing him out of the squad.

Unlike most defensive midfielders, Bentaleb is not all physical and does not always rely on his dirty work to protect his back. He is blessed with a strong concentration and ability to read the game that helps him intercept dangers. Technically gifted, the Algerian has an eye for a pass be it long or short. His playmaking ability stands out for a defensive midfielder and Spurs should not let him go permanently right now.

A loan deal makes perfect sense as the Algerian can get regular game time with Benfica and can also get back to shape and make a strong comeback to Spurs next summer. Still only 21, there is a long career left ahead for the Algerian international and it would be a blunder from Spurs to let him go after just one off-season due to injuries.

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