Nuno Santo is walking into a mess at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Portuguese coach has been appointed as their next manager, less than a week before pre-season training gets underway on Monday and right from the off, he will have a lot on his plate.
Several of his players are away at Euro 2020 and the Copa America, whilst the future of star striker Harry Kane is by no means certain. And he’ll have to consider his own transfer targets as several positions need strengthening.
If either one or both depart, then there’s a space that needs filling and it’s one that Nuno may already have a solution for in the current squad – that being Oliver Skipp.
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The 20-year-old has been earmarked as a future leader of Spurs and has returned from a pretty successful loan spell at Championship winners Norwich City.
“I think he’s genuinely Tottenham’s future,” said ex-manager Jose Mourinho of the England U21 international before his move, via the Evening Standard. “I see this kid being one day a future captain here by his character, by his personality. I feel really happy that he signed.”
Skipp went on to play 45 times in the league for the Canaries, playing the second-most minutes of any player under Daniel Farke. He also averaged the second-highest average for tackles per game (2.2), on top of an impressive 88% passing accuracy and 1.1 interceptions per outing, as per WhoScored.
By comparison, the only Spurs central midfielder to better this sort of output was Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions), so clearly the young prodigy is in good stead heading into pre-season.
“He makes my job a hell of a lot easier, I’ll tell you that,” claimed Norwich teammate Kenny McLean. “He’s been outstanding all season and we’re lucky to have him to be honest. For this level, he’s very outstanding and he’s got a huge career ahead of him.”
Valued at just £9m by Transfermarkt, Skipp could save Nuno and the club a lot of money as they won’t have to spend big to bolster the central midfield position this summer.
The solution is staring right at them.
Described as a “machine” by former head of Goal.com James Dickens, Skipp would have no problem in rising to the pressures of being a first-team regular in North London as he’s already clocked up 23 senior appearances for his boyhood club.
Nuno simply has to unleash the young midfielder.