Just nine months have passed since Tottenham Hotspur traveled to St. James’ Park with a back four of Pedro Porro, Eric Dier, Ivan Perisic, and Cristian Romero.
The match was so brutal and bloody that it left a scene that would not have looked out of place in an Eli Roth-directed splatterfest, but it is easy to forget that. Fans and pundits alike have been carried along on a wave of Ange Posteocoglou positivity.
It’s been a long trip. Some change.
Postecoglou may have access to three of the best center halves when Tottenham plays Newcastle United again in April. Of them, just one was a Spurs player the previous season.
Tottenham has finally agreed to pay Genoa approximately £26 million for Radu Dragusin, HITC Football understands. This is in spite of opposition from AC Milan, Roma, Napoli, and Bayern Munich.
Radu Dragusin deal imminent
Dragusin trails behind Micky van de Ven, the £34 million Dutchman who had such an effect when he first arrived from Wolfsburg. Romero and Dragusin’s developing combination is reminiscent of the exciting times when Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were together. Martin Keown and Arsene Wenger, two legendary Arsenal players, were prepared to set aside their allegiances in order to commend him for his remarkable performance.
Spurs are six points better placed under Postecoglou than they were under Antonio Conte in terms of outcomes and points. However, if we focus on the intangibles—not so much the numbers as the vibes and atmosphere—the toxicity that not too long ago filled the air in North London with a pungent stench of smoke hasn’t completely vanished, leaving behind a clear, concise sense of a football team operating once more according to the correct procedures.
Spurs should have three center defenders in Dragusin, Van de Ven, and Romero very soon who can waltz into most of Europe’s A-list clubs. Three young central defenders who may have only just begun to reach their full potential at the ages of 21, 22, and 25 respectively.
A 12-month transformation
With Dragusin’s arrival, Eric Dier, a symbol of Spurs’ collapse in the post-Pochettino period, should be able to finish a nearly ten-year tenure. The England international has been out of favor for some time. Davinson Sanchez has already left the team. He entered the game as Spurs were behind 5-0 against Newcastle and helped limit the hosts to just one more goal. In the English capital, Clement Lenglet was generally good but not always exceptional.
And if you told the Tottenham supporters that, with just over 25 minutes remaining at Newcastle, they would be heading back to the same stadium 12 months later with the talent and promise of Dragusin, Romero, and Van de Ven at their disposal—well, you would have them running in unison towards the exit.
That Tyneside monstrosity might not have been much easier to swallow, though. However, it undoubtedly would have provided the soothing power of a Rennie to ease an excruciating episode of dyspepsia.