Tottenham have finally made their first signing of the summer transfer window having reportedly agreed a club record fee of £42 million with Ajax for central defender Davinson Sanchez.
Mauricio Pochettino is set to make a late splurge in the market with Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh and Everton’s Ross Barkley also believed to be targets. However, it is the 21-year-old Columbian defender Sanchez who will be the first name in the door.
While Tottenham have a strong starting team, they need a bigger squad in order to launch another Premier League title bid while also to make progress in the Champions League. They have seen the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea strengthen, now it is a matter of keeping pace with their rivals.
Competition for places is always healthy and Sanchez can challenge the established Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a spot in Tottenham’s rear-guard.
Sanchez impressed in Amsterdam last season and he especially caught the eye in Europe during the young Dutch team’s impressive run to Stockholm. Those performances helped him named Ajax’s Player of the Season, but they also drew the attention of several clubs and Tottenham have taking the initiative.
However, while Sanchez is a big prospect, Jose Mourinho revealed how he exploited a weakness in Sanchez’s game during United’s 2-0 Europa League final victory.
The Portuguese manager revealed during a talk to the students at the University of Lisbon during the summer that he purposely instructed his team to allow Sanchez time and space in possession.
“We let them go out to play, but blocking the right center, (Matthijs) de Ligt, and letting the ball go to the left, Sánchez, who had more difficulties.”
This was a crucial part of Mourinho’s tactical masterplan as United pressed Ajax’s other central defender De Ligt who was given less time on the ball than the less technically gifted Sanchez who United who comfortable in the knowledge he could not hurt them.
This allowed United to keep their strong defensive shape as their Dutch opponents struggled to lay a glove on the English giants despite having the majority of possession.
This shows how much Mourinho studies his opponents in detail and why he is one of the best tacticians in world football.
Vincent O’Shea, Pundit Arena