Tottenham welcomed five new faces to the squad to face Southampton on Saturday as Spurs netted four in their first game of the season for the first time since 1994. Summer signings Fraser Forster, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet, Yves Bissouma and Djed Spence were all on the matchday squad, with the quintet all starting on the bench.
But there was no room for four players on the transfer list – and Antonio Conte also dropped a clear clue about the future of two other players at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Both Japhet Tanganga – recently linked with AC Milan – and Pepe Matar Sarr were absent from the 20-man contingent.
It looks like the pair will leave as the quartet of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Harry Winks and Sergio Reguilon have also been left out. Tanganga made just five Premier League starts under Conte at Spurs, although injury sidelined him in the second half of last season.
Davinson Sanchez and loanee Lenglet were the two centre-halves chosen from the bench against Tanganga – whose shirt hung in the dressing room – against Southampton, while Cristian Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies formed the back line at three. And that surely means that Tanganga, although he can also play as a winger for either side, will be shipped off.
Spurs may opt to keep him as a contingency option, but given the London-born defender has never played more than 19 times in a single season, his development could benefit from a year elsewhere. Conte leaving him against Southampton surely indicates that his opportunities will be limited under him this term.
There was also no place on the matchday squad for Sarr. Bissouma was the only central midfielder on the bench with Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg starting. But Oliver Skipp is injured and he is above Sarr in Conte’s mind. He should be back in shape at the beginning of September.
Sarr then emerges as another likely to go out on loan. The 19-year-old Senegalese midfielder spent last season on loan at Metz and made 22 Ligue 1 starts with another 11 appearances on the bench.
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Sarr needs a chance to prove himself at Spurs but Conte might think another loan move suits him best so he can get regular minutes rather than being limited to sporadic appearances, even with Premier League matches now offering the option of making five substitutions.
Academy product Harvey White, 20, could then be the fifth-choice midfielder after Bentancur, Bissouma, Hojbjerg and Skipp, although he has also been linked on loan. Spurs have already loaned out Joe Rodon, Troy Parrott and Dane Scarlett while selling Jack Clarke, Steven Bergwijn and Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Exits, it seems, will be the main priority between now and September 1, although Destiny Udogie – Udinese’s young left-back – looks like Spurs will become their seventh summer signing. He will, however, be loaned to the Italian club, and it looks like Tanganga and Sarr could join him to seal temporary moves elsewhere.
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