Opinion: Why Spurs should offload Andros Townsend this month

With England winger Andros Townsend continuously being linked with a move away from Spurs this month, Louis East argues whether it’s time for the North London club to cash in.

Tottenham’s Andros Townsend is a man in demand. The 24-year-old winger has fallen down the pecking order at Spurs since Mauricio Pochettino arrived and is now a £12 million target for a host of Premier League sides.

It is believed that former manager Tim Sherwood wants him at Aston Villa, while Newcastle, Sunderland and London rivals West Ham are also keen to secure the England international’s services.

Spurs are reportedly willing to sell their academy product if an offer of at least £12 million arrives before the end of the transfer window. But should they be so willing to let him go?

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Playing time isn’t guaranteed for Townsend this season, especially as he found it difficult to force his way into Pochettino’s first-team plans last term. He missed the opening day trip to Old Trafford with a shoulder injury and played no part in their preseason trips to the USA and Germany.

He may be back in training now but it’s hard to envisage Townsend getting many league starts this season. Nacer Chadli, Moussa Dembele and Erik Lamela are all ahead of the pacey wide-man at this point, with the Lilywhites still looking to strengthen out wide as Clinton N’Jie is reportedly closing in on a move to England.

That could see Townsend settling for regular Europa League games on Thursday nights and cameo appearances from the bench in the league – something that the player himself wouldn’t be too keen on ahead of the European Championships at the end of the season.

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Despite his lack of playing time at club level, Roy Hodgson remains a big fan of Townsend but there’s only so little action a player can see before he is overlooked for a place in an international tournament squad.

Spurs supporters were excited when Townsend burst onto the scene two years ago after more than nine loan spells at English clubs, but he has since grown very predictable and sections of White Hart Lane can be heard groaning with every wasted step-over the academy product pulls off.

Andros Townsend's Spurs stats from past two seasons (via Squawka)

Andros Townsend’s Spurs stats from past two seasons (via Squawka)

Too many wasteful crosses and off-target longshots have seen Townsend’s path to stardom halted. A fresh start at another top-flight club, with regular game time guaranteed would give him another chance to prove his quality, and would surely secure him a place in Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2016.

Spurs are actively looking for new wingers, while a new wave of young talent, headed by Alex Pritchard will only make it more difficult for Townsend to forge his way back to where he was when Tim Sherwood was in charge in 2014.

Time looks to be up and with Spurs looking to secure the signing of N’Jie for an estimated £12 million, Townsend will more than likely be sold to pay for the signing of the young Cameroon international.

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Arsenal legend questions Hodgson’s England squad, criticises Spurs duo

Former Arsenal attacker Paul Merson has criticised Roy Hodgson’s England squad selection and feels that two of the Spurs players called up should not be there, along with a few others.

Merson feels that Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker do not deserve to be in the current England team and has questioned Hodgson’s supposed forward-thinking approach.

“I’m surprised by the squad. We’re not planning for the future,” Merson said in his column for the Daily Star.

“If Roy knew there was a six-year plan and he was the man to implement it, things would be different.

“The squad puzzles me. Roy went to see Manchester United against Tottenham the other week.

“He watched Andros Townsend have a stinker and get taken off after half an hour, and he watched Kyle Walker get absolutely rinsed.

“But he’s picked them both in his squad! If he’d already made up his mind, why bother going to the game?

“Townsend is only there because he played well for England 18 months ago. I thought it was supposed to be on form?”

Merson also questioned the decisions to bring in Ashley Young, Theo Walcott, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

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But he did have some praise for another Spurs star, Harry Kane. It’s impossible to criticise the young Tottenham striker, and although Merson is pleased to see him in the squad, he does not feel he is good enough to start at the European Championships next year.

“At least he picked Harry Kane. He deserves it. He’s been doing it every week. You can have your head turned when you get picked for England but he went and scored a hat-trick!

“He can play in the hole like Wayne Rooney or he can play in front of him. When he plays as a No 10 he still gets in the box all the time. But I’d play him in front of Rooney and let him run into the corners and open the game up.

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“Daniel Sturridge is still the man for me going into the Euros. I think he gives you a bit more pace. But Kane is the next best option off the bench.”

Kane scored from the bench on his debut in Friday night’s 4-0 win against Lithuania at Wembley and will be hoping to get his first start in Tuesday night’s friendly with Italy.

Do you agree with Paul Merson’s comments? Is the current England squad the best it could be?

Is Tottenham’s transfer policy hindering their progression?

Jamie Ives takes a look at where it has all gone wrong for Tottenham Hotspur in the past couple of seasons, and asks if the club’s transfer policy needs to change.

It was only two years ago that Spurs were being touted as potential title contenders following a strong flurry of performances that saw them climb into the top three in the Premier League.

However, their recent transfer policy has been questionable at best and if anything they are signing players that are worse than the players they are selling.

The best example of this point is the recent sale of Sandro – a former fan favourite, for the unbeknown Benjamin Stambouli. I’m sure that Stambouli could more than do a job for Spurs in the league and needs time to adapt, but his game time has been limited this season so far and Sandro was a first-team regular for nearly three seasons.

The biggest name to depart in the Spurs exodus was of course Gareth Bale, who joined Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee of around £85 million. However, I think the player they miss the most is Luka Modric. The Croatian star was the one player that could open a defence with one pass and turn the opposition in an instance. Spurs have yet to replace him.

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The Tottenham midfield has lacked this type of player since Modric departed. And only got by without him because of the genius of Bale during the 2012/13 season.

Once Bale left, the squad had a huge influx of players including Erik Lamela (£30m), Roberto Soldado (£25.8m) and Paulinho (£17m). Though it’s fair to say that all three of them have failed to show their worth.

They also managed to sell two promising England internationals, in Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore, which left their intentions unjust.

While long-term Spurs stars like Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson and Jermain Defoe have also moved on to make way for a new side that has struggled to find its own identity.

There must come a point when Spurs realise that what they are best at is producing players and not purchasing them.

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Franco Baldini has a lot to answer for as technical director. He arrived in the summer before Bale was sold and between him and chairman Daniel Levy, all of that money was blown without much to show for.

However, it is not all doom and gloom at White Hart Lane, as the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend (all from the Spurs academy) look set for game time under Mauricio Pochettino.

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Don’t miss: Is Harry Kane Tottenham’s best striker?

There is no doubt that Spurs’ season will pick up. But there needs to come a time, pretty soon, where they can take the next step and mount a strong challenge for success.

Changing manager year after year will not move the team forward, and a rethink at the very top of the club is what is needed to get Tottenham back on track.

What do you make of Tottenham’s transfer policy? What needs to change at Spurs?