Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Former Tottenham Hotspur Midfielder Willing To Return To Spurs: Should Pochettino Bring Him Back?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with the Independent, Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb shed some light on his relationship with his former manager Mauricio Pochettino and also refused to rule out a potential return back to Tottenham Hotspur. It has nearly been two years since he sealed a permanent move to Schalke back in the summer of 2017. The Algerian international recently told the Independent, “I got injured and when I came back, I wanted to play so bad that I had some arguments [with Pochettino]. I was a little bit frustrated, and I was learning basically,” 

“I know I made mistakes. But they helped me learn, as a man. And they don’t stop me from sleeping at night. And if I was 24 right now, and I had been at Tottenham, I don’t think I would make the same mistakes.

“We spoke to each other for a bit, it was really nice.

“I knew he wanted the best for me. I respect him for sure, I have no problem with him. My desire to play was too much, and after that I was swerving away.

“Now, a couple of years later, I know why. I have a bit more maturity, I understand now. I understand what was best for me. And it was good for me, when I look back at it.

“I would be a hypocrite to say that I would not like to be there, and I am not a hypocrite. But this is football.”

His recent words indicate that he still misses his old club and wouldn’t mind making a switch back to the Premier League if the opportunity presented itself. However, the more important question would be to determine whether Spurs need him again. 

Mauricio Pochettino has currently got a plethora of midfield options in his squad with talented players such as Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Victor Wanyama, Oliver Skipp and Christian Eriksen all vying for a starting berth in the Tottenham first-team. Hence, there is no reason for Spurs to recruit Bentaleb once again unless one or more of their current options leave the club soon.

At the moment, Pochettino is better off spending money wisely to strengthen some of the other positions of his squad next summer as the midfield is an area where Spurs seem to be at their strongest. However, Bentaleb is slowly developing into a classy midfield act in the Bundesliga. The Algerian talent has made 28 appearances for Schalke this term, scoring six goals while creating one assist across all competitions.

To his credit, Bentaleb has added goals to his game which could be useful for Spurs as their current midfield options do not contribute enough on the attacking end of the pitch. Moreover, the Lille born prospect has also gained a lot of experience at the international level after securing 35 caps and five goals for the Algerian national team so far.

Despite all his strengths, it doesn’t make much sense for Pochettino to go back for him just yet. Thus, Bentaleb is better off staying in Germany and continue developing himself into a world-class midfielder over the next few years. On the other hand, the North London giants should concentrate on improving other areas of their team to help them in their quest to win major trophies.

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