It is a world of change at White Hart Lane this summer, what with star man Gareth Bale’s expected departure to Real Madrid being offset by a raft of new signings in a bid to continue the club’s challenge for the Premier League top four.
Of the news faces, attacking midfielder Nacer Chadli has been brought to the club, while a deal is reportedly close for Roma and Argentina star Erik Lamela. Ajax have confirmed that the north Londoners are in talks with highly rated playmaker Christian Eriksen over a transfer also.
Despite the new additions being brought to the club as a replacement for Bale, some of the old guard have also been shipped on to make space for progress. Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Scott Parker and William Gallas have all departed, while there are others that will see their time on the pitch reduced dramatically.
Lamela’s signing in particular will cause question marks to arise over the future of Aaron Lennon. Once a key figure in Tottenham’s fabled counter-attacking play, the England international will now have added competition for his usually secure spot on the right wing, where the Argentine is widely expected to operate.
Lennon has shown at times that he can be as devastating a winger as any in the English game. His lightning pace remains the cornerstone to his attacking threat, while he has offered vital assists and goals in previous seasons.
However, for the former Leeds player to maintain a place in André Villas-Boas’ first XI and stay as a regular feature at the club, he must evolve. The Tottenham team is evolving to include all-action footballers that have outstanding skill and technique in possession, as well as mere physical capabilities.
The likes of Paulinho, Étienne Capoue, Mousa Dembélé, Chadli and Lamela, if he arrives, all have an evident physical attribute – whether it be speed, endurance, strength or stature. They all also have international-standard footballing ability and do not solely rely on their physical proficiency to be effective.
This, unfortunately, could well be where Lennon is found out. The flying winger has delighted and frustrated Tottenham fans in equal measure over the years, with every pinpoint cross or powerful strike at goal counteracted with the opposite.
Lennon can be frightfully inconsistent, with his end product and first touch in question – something that there is no room for in the battle for the top four, where the smallest of details can be the difference between success and failure.
Lennon’s future will be intertwined with the fate of Lamela, and whether he completes his move to Tottenham as expected. If the South American does become Spurs’ record transfer signing, the English flyer can potentially expect prolonged periods on the sidelines.
There is no doubt that Lennon would be in demand if he was on the market, and has all the attributes to be a decisive impact sub if Spurs need a hit of speed and urgency. However, his deficiency on the ball could well lead to him being overlooked in favour of his more technically gifted new team-mates.
Lennon needs to be careful not to be labelled as a one-trick pony, as the modern Tottenham demand much more than sheer speed from their attacking players.