Tottenham should sign an English enigma who would transform their attack and solve a growing problem Antonio Conte seems curiously unaware of, per one observer.
Despite a bright start, Tottenham’s season has ground to a halt of late. Failure to beat Sporting Lisbon on home soil during the week means qualification to the Champions League Round of 16 will go down to the wire.
On the domestic front, Spurs were soundly beaten by Manchester United and suffered a second straight league defeat when losing to Newcastle.
While the dip in form is far from the world-ending disaster some are making it out to be, it has thrown up a question ro two about Conte’s tactics.
The Italian deploys either a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 formation at every club he manages.
With his current Tottenham side, Conte selects defensive-minded workhorses in the central positions irrespective of opponent and regardless of whether he opts for two or three midfielders.
That’s led to Rodrigo Bentancur, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Yves Bissouma all operating together on occasion.
In theory, those tactics should provide Spurs with a stable platform from which to build upon. However, some observers claim such selections are doing a disservice to Tottenham’s vaunted forwards, specifically Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Spurs legend, Glenn Hoddle, voiced his concerns over Conte’s unwillingness to play a more creative player in the middle.
Maddison the missing piece of the puzzle?
Spurs’ midfield does have a one-paced feel when the destroyers play together, and Hoddle claimed £60m-rated Leicester ace, James Maddison, would be “sensational” at a top six side like Tottenham.
Maddison was the subject of a bid from Newcastle last summer. He’s also known to be on Spurs’ radar, and CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs recently pegged Tottenham to be the likeliest winners in any transfer battle.
Maddison can stake a realistic claim to being the finest player operating within the Premier League outside of a traditional ‘top six’ club.
West Ham’s Declan Rice and Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes may have a thing or two to say on that statement, though Maddison’s statistics are eye-opening.
The 25-year-old has eight goal contributions across his 11 appearances this season. Last year, Maddison racked up an incredible 30 goal contributions in 53 outings.
Hoddle called upon his former club to move for the Leicester talisman, though admitted he doesn’t believe Conte wants to address the issue, or perhaps isn’t aware there is one.
“I get so frustrated,” said co-host Alan Brazil. “With Tottenham’s firepower up front, they need someone more creative in midfield to supply the service.
“It’s crying out for someone with a bit of class and adventure who goes forward rather than sideways or back all the time.”
Every Tottenham fan “crying out” for creativity – Hoddle
Hoddle replied: “That’s what every Spurs fan is crying out for.
“I don’t think Antonio is going to look that way, he plays with Bentancur and Hojbjerg and they are very good players.
“But when they play together… one of them, with a creator in there, would be the perfect balance, in my opinion.
“Antonio wants to play two holding players and go with his firepower up front.
“But I think they need some creativity – because at the moment it’s down to Kane dropping in and creating.
“If you had [Christian] Eriksen, as an example… or Maddison, I love him.
“I think he should be in the England squad and, no disrespect to Leicester, if he was playing in a top six team, he would be sensational and an absolute shoo-in.
“Someone like that, who comes in off the lines… you’ve only got to look at the best teams in the country and they’ve got those players.”
Despite his lethal displays at club level, Maddison remains an enigma on the international stage.
His only senior appearance for the Three Lions came way back in 2019. Barring a dramatic U-turn from Gareth Southgate, Maddison is unlikely to feature at the Qatar World Cup either.