Tottenham has a reported interest in Swansea and England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey
Mauricio Pochettino loves versatile midfielders. They don’t come much more versatile than Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey and that’s why he could be headed to White Hart Lane in January.
Swansea is reported to be considering parting with Shelvey in an effort to fund new recruits for their new manager (whomever that may be). If this comes about, several Premier League clubs will certainly be interested in acquiring the English international but it’s a good bet that Tottenham will be at the top of that list.
At first glance, you might think that midfield is a position of strength for Tottenham and they have no need for a player like Shelvey. While it is true that Tottenham have a number of midfield options, it’s apparent that Pochettino wants a number of options at that spot on the pitch. Furthermore, it’s clear that he prefers players who can play as both attacking and defending midfielders. The latter is why I think Shelvey would make a lot of sense for Spurs.
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While Swansea has really struggled as a squad this year, Shelvey’s play has been excellent. He leads the Swans in terms of Whoscored.com player rating for the year and has chipped in a goal a two assists in 13 appearances. What really makes his play special though is his competitive spirit. He is a bulldog on the pitch and that quality has surely caught Pochettino’s eye.
You also can’t discount the fact that he’s an English international. This isn’t an advantage for nationalistic pride, but it does matter given the number of his teammates that already play for Tottenham. Pochettino is in a unique position to get valuable insight on his game and temperament from current squad members. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if England players like Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Dele Alli and Eric Dier spoke up in favor of buying Shelvey when Pochettino broached the question.
Shelvey’s fit in the Totenham squad isn’t immediately apparent, but I think he’d find significant playing time. He could play in the defensive midfield or in any of the three attacking midfield spots. In particular, he’d be a very useful player to deploy in the number 10 role when Pochettino wanted to field a more defensive lineup. He would function very much like Mousa Dembele in that role, but with perhaps more offensive purpose.
The biggest challenge I have with the idea of Shelvey joining Tottenham is that I really can’t see Swansea parting with the youngster. Even without a manager, they must realize that the 23-year-old is their best proven Premier League player and parting with him could cause serious damage to their league prospects. They’d be foolish to part with him absent of an enormous transfer fee.
I doubt a fee of that magnitude will be coming from Spurs in January. If Swansea is willing to part with their midfielder for a reasonable fee though, look for Pochettino to swoop in to purchase a player that fits his system like a glove.