“It’s hard to think of any positives. With the ball we are an exceptional team and can score goals and hurt any team. But you don’t win games of football just with the ball.
“I felt we were the better team overall creating opportunities. Disappointment, anger, there’s so much emotion going through my body and everyone at the moment, not just the players but the staff and I’m sure fans at home.
“The manner in which we conceded the last goal on the back of equalising, it’s hard to put into words. I wouldn’t say we were unlucky to lose, though. We helped Liverpool.”
Those were the words of Tottenham Hotspur’s interim manager Ryan Mason after his side were beaten by Liverpool at Anfield in a Premier League classic. Despite going 3-0 down only seven days from a humiliating 6-1 loss to Newcastle on the road, fans prematurely headed back to the capital before their side clawed the game back and shock the EPL top 4 odds, Richarlison opening his Premier League account at the home of his former rivals. However, a Lucas Moura error just seconds later handed Diogo Jota the chance to win the game in front of the Kop, and the Portuguese striker finished with aplomb to send any kind of top-four pursuit for Spurs.
The biggest concern for Mason will be the way his defence crumbled. Both Eric Dier and Cristian Romero produced a catalogue of errors that surely underline the need for defensive reinforcement this summer. But who could they sign without the pull of the Champions League? Read on, as we look at three centre-backs that could arrive in north London next summer, aiming to put an end to the soft goals and inconsistent form for Spurs next season.
Castello Lukeba – Lyon
Over the years Ligue 1 has been a great place for Tottenham to sign talent from, with the French league developing the likes of Hugo Lloris, who has gone on to spend over a decade at the club. Lyon’s Castello Lukeba could be next, with the 20-year-old a target for a variety of Premier League sides due to his athleticism and versatility.
Comfortable in both a back three and a traditional 4-2-3-1, Lukeba is part of the conveyor belt of defensive talent out of the Rhône, and with plenty of time to continue his growth he could be a great long-term investment. Blessed with great pace, he would be able to cover runs far more efficiently than Dier, and his experience will only get better with more games under his belt.
Marc Guehi – Crystal Palace
Closer to home now and Crystal Palace man Marc Guehi could be trading Selhurst Park for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season if Daniel Levy has his way. In what is a low-stakes move, the Palace defender has struggled to find the same form since Patrick Vieira’s departure, but has still established himself as one of the best defenders in the league since arriving from Chelsea. And with the football tips suggesting it will be another tame window for Palace, it could be time for Guehi to move on.
The Cobham graduate, who was signed for £18 million in 2021, would surely command a higher price tag now, but his knowledge of the league and leadership across an experienced defence defies his age and beating Arsenal to his signature could be the motivation Spurs and Levy need to get their fans excited again.
Edmond Tapsoba – Bayer Leverkusen
Despite only being at Bayer Leverkusen since 2020, Edmond Tapsoba has become a household name in the Bundesliga, and with his side struggling domestically now could be the time for a side to swoop in and secure the centre-back, who looks perfectly suited to the Premier League. His physical presence is scary and the Burkina Faso international is deceptively quick for a 6’4 defender. Tapsoba has already been linked with Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in the past so Spurs would need to act quickly to sign Tapsoba, whose contract will likely have a release clause in after next season, but with Xabi Alonso linked with the managerial position he could take one of his star men with him.