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Djed Spence: Three Tottenham Talking Points

1. The Basics on Spence

Having prattled on a bit about Perisic and Forster (hither), Bissouma (thither), Richarlison (yonder) and Lenglet (abaft) it seems only decent to mangle the language for a few additional paragraphs in honour of young Master Spence.

The usual disclaimer applies here, as, in common with most folk plucked from anywhere but the Premier League or uppermost echelons of Europe, my folder of research notes on the young bean is pretty light stuff. “Potential and whatnot” is pretty much the sum of it.

Stringing that out a bit, he featured in a couple of entertaining Cup games against Premier League teams last season (including one not a million miles from N17), which gave casual observers such as AANP an opportunity to cast the beady eye.

During these Spence could be observed bounding forward with all the gay abandon of youth, unhindered by such concerns as hangovers, childcare arrangements and defensive cover. It was all harmless enough fun and he didn’t lack for wiling, but in truth there was nothing on show that had me grabbing the megaphone and parading the High Road to declare that the answer to our right wing-back woes was incarnate and to be found putting in his shift in Notts NG2.

However, I’m not about to judge a fellow on a couple of matches half-watched while getting down to the serious business of studying Duo Lingo Spanish and thumbing the pages of a PG Wodehouse, and I rather sneer at the ass who does. Far better to base judgement of the chap on the musings of more celebrated sages in the field. Actually, it would be better to give the poor cove a chance before judging him at all – but celebrated sages it will be, and the consensus amongst them seems to be that Spence is rather a goer in the market for frontfoot attacking larks, has great big handfuls of energy and occasionally lets the mind drift when the defensive klaxon sounds.

2. Conte’s View

All of which points to a signing that is a bit removed from the Conte template, and instead bears all the grubby pawprints of a classic Daniel Levy signing from each of the last fifteen or so years. Young, English, a bit of talent about him but swathes of room for improvement and, crucially, potential for a pretty hefty whack when it comes to cashing in a few years’ hence. The fact that Spence and young Sessegnon have been acquainted since shortly out of nappies rather hammers home the point, as the similarities in profile abound.

It’s little wonder that Conte has gone on record to deliver a near-perfect Pontius Pilate impression, if you don’t mind me introducing a spot of Scripture into things, and washing his hands of the signing.

“Not my idea,” has been the loose translation of Conte’s thoughts on the signing – but nevetheless he’s been quite happy to play the game and stick him on the subs bench, presumably because in Messrs F, P, B, R and L he already has most of what he wanted (experienced, proven sorts), and has them nice and early in the piece too.

Still, if Conte had taken an instant dislike to the fellow I can’t imagine we’d have gone through with this, and presumably that Paratici chap is also a believer. The moral of the story here would seem to be that anyone who hoped Spence might be shoved into the starting XI and left to get on with things, popping up in the Premier League Team of the Season at the end of the year and collecting a Young Player’s Award en route, might be in for some disappointment. At best I would expect him to share wing-back duties on the right with whomever of Doherty or Emerson isn’t sold, no doubt making a few mistakes along the way, and accordingly attracting instant and damning censure, not least from AANP Towers.

3. Emerson and Doherty

Talking of E.R. and M.D., I’ve gone round in a goodish number of circles trying to establish how their immediate prospects shape up.

If this were left to me it would be one of the shortest meetings on record – keep Doherty, give Emerson the elbow and off to the nearest watering-hole for some refreshment – but the powers that be seem intent on making rather a production of this.

Emerson seems a genuinely likeable soul – seemingly missing a few critical neurons and whatnot, but one of the boys and pretty committed to all things lilywhite. And were this a land of milk, honey and 4-4-2 then I’d suggest his Spurs future would have a pretty rosy tint to it, for when it comes to ticking boxes as a right-back in its purest form he knows his eggs.

Alas, ours is a world of wing-backs, and in the attacking respect, Emerson seems to have a pretty strong catalogue of evidence to suggest that this is not his game. No shame in that, of course, it’s not for everyone – but the point is that this having been established, there doesn’t seem too much point in having him around the place. Starts to get a bit awkward, what?

Doherty, despite a wobbly start, seemed to have received the memo towards the end of last season and generally seemed happy to confirm that if this were a wing-back system then he would be part of the gang. Although, like Emerson, he wasn’t necessarily the most natural when it came to swinging over a peach of a cross into an inviting area, he nevertheless seemed to know the how, where and when of the job. While I’d have happily welcomed an upgrade, his presence was reassuring enough.

Moreover, with Spence now on board to apply a spot of breath down the Doherty neck, we seem well equipped for a world sans Emerson. I’ll therefore waggle a pretty irritated eyebrow if I read over the morning kippers next week that Doherty has been given a handshake, commemorative pen and wished good luck elsewhere, but I suppose I’d better brace myself nonetheless. Either way, young Spence now has the most certain immediate future in N17 of the trio, and good luck to him.

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9 replies on “Djed Spence: Three Tottenham Talking Points”

my take on Spence is that Conte didn’t want him and is a Levy project (hence the long negotiation signing him). However I am glad Conte played him on Saturday as he did show promise. My guess is that Conte will slap down the arrogance in him and make him a humble/great player (as Levy wants) so they can make a mint out of him later. My fear is that he will turn into another Dele

Inclined to agree with all of that. In fact, if you scour your notes you’ll infer that I did concur with all of that. We are of one mind! No doubt you also wile away the idle hours reading Wodehouse and listening to Debussy/The Prodigy, depending on your mood.
If Spence takes Dele’s journey, including the glorious middle, I’ll excuse an ignominious Dele-esque end.

Indeed…. Alas I missed seeing the young man in action and was limited to catching up on this rumours via YouTube. I was a little disappointed watching about 12mins of 20second clips to see not a single goal from any cross or from the number of successful one-on-ones, although exciting to see this, much missed attribute of winger activity in the premier league, I was left rather flat before the weeks of protracted negotiations. All in all, I did think, Dele 2.0, so will inevitably like the guy, but think we should be aiming for better, sorry, I know he hasn’t kicked a ball in the league yet and I’m already writing him off, but I’m on the Conte train. If he says it wasn’t his idea, then that says to me he’ll have to do a lot to squeeze in and stay there. Hmmm hope he does, but doubt it.

On balance, I’d stick with Matt D. and give Spence room to grow, but I’d hang onto Royal for another half-season and see if he undergoes a Sissoko-like transformation and add something to his game. Royal is getting better as a full-back but his instinct is to stay put and he rarely advances to lift a dangerous ball into the box. Unacceptable. The enemy knows this and is able to prepare accordingly. If we were hoping for an upgrade on the disastrous Aurier then we were let down. I hope for Spence’s sake that he can avoid the wretched episode that befell Jack Clarke, a young player who lost two years out of his career all because of Levy’s vanity. I hope Spence has a bit more about him to succeed. He has a lot to learn, and quickly, after running riot amongst Championship defences. The Prem is an unforgiving battlefield to test your talents and I keep my fingers crossed. I assume that Toni C. and Fabio gave a guarded okay and I cannot imagine the transfer would have proceeded without their approval. But maybe Spence was part of the grace and favour that comes with the ‘Chairman’s Fund’ that every CEO enjoys to fund their whims…caveat emptor.

The negotiations took longer due to DS being offered to Nottingham Forest at a lower price (£12.5m) than THFC were first quoted (£15m).
Nottingham Forest didn’t firm up any interest as they knew DS wished to sign for THFC, so as Chris Wilder said, there was no ‘offer’ from them.
Then the add-ons demanded were a bit high £10m) & not set appropriately so had to be negotiated (£7.5m) & reasonably structured.
Daniel Levy did NOT have anything to do with ‘taking over the deal’ as was reported (made up) by some bored journalist, it just fit the THFC media narrative that too many THFC followers latch onto as it suits to blame Daniel Levy for anything & everything. Fabio Paratici & his team deal with ALL transfers now.
The deal was ‘in the bag’ before THFC jetted off to S.Korea but Fabio Paratici dealt with the Richarlison & Clement Lenglet deals first, so they simply waited till their return to sign & officially announce.
It was a Fabio Paratici/THFC scouting team buy, NOT a Daniel Levy one, that Antonio Conte “gave the green light to” & he has the final say on ALL transfers, both in & out.
Know that’s all not as staggering as some wish to believe but it’s FACTS that matter.
PS. About 95% of media reports are bs & speculation.

As usual, heartily concur. Watching the lads larking about in the preseason I was struck by several clues to Conte’s possible thoughts on the subject. One: this bee in his bonnet about shifting Lucas Moura to right wingback is a hint that, whatever Spence’s continued bench-warming status, Conte is willing to see the back of one of Doherty or Emerson. Like you, I am hopeful it won’t be Doherty, though Doherty’s exclusion from the side at Ibrox sent a premonitory chill down my spine. On the other hand, (two:) Sessegnon and Perisic together add up to a single starting player on the right, each providing what the other lacks; possibly Doherty is Conte’s ace card in reserve. Davinson Sanchez provided much the same sort of boost toward the end of last season backing up Romero, and I notice Conte has played him exclusively at left fullback so far, implying a lack of confidence in Lenglet. What little we saw of the French chap against Rangers gave us little confidence, and how a great lofty fellow like Rodon can completely disappear for 20 minutes of playing time is a mystery to me–and presumably to Conte, as well, who seems to employ him only with the greatest reluctance and that as impermanently as possible. Emerson Royal seems, as you so correctly pointed out, both enthusiastic and loyal, but he has proven himself to be no wingback. It seems a bit of a shame to me that the “Italian maestro”, or “52 year old” as the tabloids refer to him depending on their mood, has made no attempt to play him in at left fullback because evidently “defence good” but “offence no good” in the lad’s dim but nice ratiocinations.

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