Spurs failed to strike gold with this intriguing signing from the previous year.
Ange Postecoglou, the Australian manager, has guided Tottenham Hotspur to remarkable success as they embrace a new era under his leadership. After just seven games, the team has risen to second position in the Premier League.
It’s a far cry from last year’s struggles, when the club limped to an eighth-place finish and missed out on European qualification for the first time since 2008/09 under Harry Redknapp’s leadership after esteemed manager Antonio Conte was fired in March – Spurs’ fourth fired manager in as many years.
While Postecoglou has made a name for himself in the transfer market this summer by bringing in a number of exciting players like James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Guglielmo Vicario, and Brennan Johnson, some of the team’s greatest success has come from the resurgence of a number of previously struggling players.
Yves Bissouma has been a “monster” in the middle, and captain Heung-min Son has scored six goals in his last four games after Charlie Gordon called him a “passenger” for his lackluster performances last season.
Djed Spence, a right-back, similarly played deceitfully last season after signing in the summer, but unlike his Tottenham comrades who are currently flourishing, Postecoglou did not trust him with a squad place, so he was sent out on loan to the Championship.
How much did Tottenham spend on Djed Spence?
Spence, a defender from Middlesbrough, was signed by Tottenham for £20 million in July 2022 after an outstanding loan stint with Nottingham Forest, a team that had just been promoted to the Premier League after an incredible season.
With 46 appearances, three goals, and five assists, Spence had played a significant role in Forest’s ascent to the first division. Ian Wright, a commentator, praised his “swashbuckling” performances.
Tottenham believed they had signed one of England’s most promising young players for a price that seemed high, but his tenure at the club thus far has been nothing short of a disaster.
How has Djed Spence performed for Tottenham?
Spence has been a member of the Spurs roster for more than a year, and despite only appearing six times, he has cost the team £3.3 million overall (transfer fee included).
After failing to impress before Christmas, the London club determined that his development would be better maintained somewhere in the near future. On the final day of the January transfer window, the player earning £25k per week completed a loan transfer to Ligue One team Rennes.
He did display traits of the player Spurs sought with the French team, according to Sofascore, completing 89% of his passes, making 1.8 tackles, and succeeding with 63% of his dribbles and 61% of his duels.
The fact that Spurs moved forward with plans to sign a new right-back in January and signed Pedro Porro on an initial loan before paying him €45 million (£40 million) in the summer implies that Spence is not expected to secure a consistent starting position any time soon.
Porro, 24, is claiming the position for himself as the Spaniard, who has been acclaimed for his “dangerous” recent performance against Liverpool, has been one of the best players throughout this Tottenham renaissance under Postecoglou.
Where is Djed Spence now?
Spence’s playing time during his loan period in France was prematurely cut short due to injury, but he still only made ten appearances during that time. Spence was still deemed to be a step below the required standard at Tottenham, so in August he was loaned to Leeds United.
The Whites announced on September 18 that the 23-year-old had suffered a knee injury during a training challenge and that, although surgery was not necessary, he would need to sit out for eight weeks, keeping him out until late November.
Since joining Leeds, he has only played nine minutes, coming off the bench against Sheffield Wednesday late in the game and making an impact. Sofascore gave him a 7.0 match rating after he made four ball recoveries, completed all nine of his passes, succeeded with 67% of his dribbles, and won 83% of his duels.
As a result, his appearance for the club has only been on his debut; nevertheless, after receiving acclaim from reporter Graham Smyth for his “terrific” cameo, there is hope that he will succeed. The Yorkshire Evening Post writer also applauded his “pace and strength to bulldoze the ball forward.”
While it did not work out during his first season in London, the attributes described above are exactly what Spurs paid for when moving forward with a move. His current placement out on loan does not mean, however, that he has lost his spot forever in the Lilywhites squad.
Could Djed Spence still succeed at Tottenham?
Basically, he could, of course. Spence is a tremendously talented full-back who possesses all the qualities necessary to thrive at the highest level. At only 23, he also has time on his side.
According to FBref, the star full-back has performed among the top 8% of full-backs in the past year in the top five leagues in Europe for pass completion, progressive carries, top 8% for successful take-ons, and top 4% for blocks per 90.
Spence received tremendous praise for his performances during his previous run with the Tricky Trees, leaving former star Barry Laws waxing poetic.
He said, referring to a full-back, “He has been the standout player in the Forest side. Full-backs rarely make headlines for the right reasons. He gathers them up in bulk. He makes a difference in each and every game.
He is a serious threat because of his strength moving forward, explosive pace, quantity of talent, and ability to drop his shoulder, step over, go inside or outside. He did an excellent job defending one on one, in my opinion. He is strong in the air and decent on the back post. Nothing that I have observed would qualify as a weakness.
The future of this dynamo is still up in the air, but given that there are no guarantees he will play right back for Spurs as the team’s first choice once more, it could turn out to be a disastrous move to sign such a bright prospect and fail to even hint at his potential at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.