Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Calls grow for Tottenham to axe icon who’s sabotaging Conte, with Leeds Utd providing perfect replacement

Tottenham stars Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies and Son Heung-min

Another voice has joined the chorus of those calling for Antonio Conte to axe a high profile Tottenham star who it’s claimed is negatively effecting the entire team.

It’s hard to escape the feeling Tottenham are once again their own worst enemies right now. Despite deploying a back five and at least two holding midfielders each week, Spurs have fallen behind in 10 successive matches across all competitions.

Conte’s side have shown they’re more than capable of battling back, though Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa proved a bridge too far.

Spurs again conceded first when veteran goalkeeper Hugo Lloris spilled a tame long-distance strike from Douglas Luiz.

Ollie Watkins was alert to the situation and quickly gathered possession before teeing up Emiliano Buendia to punish the error.

France captain Lloris, 36, is into his 11th season between the sticks in north London, though his increasingly error-strewn displays are causing concern.

Indeed, Graeme Souness insisted the Spurs stalwart is “past his sell-by date” during Sky Sports’ broadcast.

Time for Tottenham to axe Lloris?

“I am not a big fan of Lloris, I have said it for a long time,” said Souness.

“I think he, since the start of last season he has made four errors that have led to goals. That’s the worst in the Premier League for goalkeepers.

“For me, he is past his sell-by date.”

Lloris penned fresh terms with Tottenham last January upon extending his deal until 2024. However, according to Sky Sports’ Tottenham specialist, Lyall Thomas, the time is fast approaching for Conte to be ruthless and swing the axe.

When responding in a Spurs fans’ Q & A, Thomas indicated Lloris could be moved on at season’s end.

Furthermore, Thomas argued Lloris’ struggles are breeding uncertainty in Conte’s “entire team”, and the fact they continue to fall behind and give themselves a mountain to climb is perhaps evidence of that.

“Personally I think in the summer, yes,” said Thomas when asked if Lloris’ time is up. “Having a goalkeeper capable of errors breeds uncertainty in the entire team.

“Lloris has been one of Tottenham’s best ever goalkeepers, and signings for that matter, but football is a shrewd business and you have to be shrewd if you want to compete at the top.

“It’s almost time for Spurs to find their next top goalkeeper.”

Leeds Utd to provide successor?

If Tottenham do decide Lloris must go, a return to his native France has long been touted.

On the subject of who’d fill his boots in north London, Leeds’ Illan Meslier is a name continuing to be linked.

The 22-year-old has racked up an incredible number of appearances for someone so young. Indeed, he’s already surpassed 100 senior first-team appearances between time at Lorient and Leeds.

Meslier has two-and-a-half years of Premier League experience and is widely viewed as a future France international. He has 11 caps to his name for the Under-21s, though he’ll not stay at that level much longer.

Man Utd and Chelsea have both been mentioned alongside big-money moves in 2023 by French outlet MediaFoot.

Leeds previously deemed their young goalkeeper ‘untouchable’, though finances are likely to dictate their thinking if huge offers are tabled.

TEAMtalk exclusively revealed Meslier was among a three-man shortlist of Prem-based stoppers Spurs are sizing up back in November. The others are Brighton’s Robert Sanchez and Everton’s Jordan Pickford.

The Athletic’s Leeds specialist, Phil Hay, also reported Tottenham were mulling a move for Meslier.

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