Tottenham welcomed five fresh faces into the squad to face Southampton on Saturday as Spurs scored four in their first match of the season for the first time since 1994. Summer signings Fraser Forster, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet, Yves Bissouma and Djed Spence were all in the match-day squad, with the quintet all starting on the bench.
But there was no room for four transfer-listed players – and Antonio Conte also dropped a clear hint over the future of two more players at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Japhet Tanganga – linked to AC Milan recently – and Pepe Matar Sarr were both absent from the 20-man contingent.
It seems the pair will depart while the quartet of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Harry Winks and Sergio Reguilon were left out too. Tanganga has only made five Premier League starts under Conte at Spurs, though an injury did sideline him in the second half of last season.
Davinson Sanchez and the on-loan Lenglet were the two centre-halves picked on the bench over Tanganga – whose shirt was hung up in the dressing room – against Southampton, while Cristian Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies formed the three-man backline. And that surely means Tanganga, though he can also play as a wing-back on either side, will be shipped out.
Spurs may opt to keep him around as an emergency option but given the London-born defender has never played more than 19 times in a single season, his development may benefit from a year elsewhere. Conte leaving him out against Southampton surely indicates his opportunities will be limited under him this term.
There was no space in the match-day squad for Sarr, either. Bissouma was the only central midfielder on the bench with Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg starting. But Oliver Skipp is injured and he is above Sarr in Conte’s thinking. He should be fit again by the start of September.
Sarr then appears another likely to go out on loan. The 19-year-old Senegalese midfielder spent last season on loan at Metz and made 22 Ligue 1 starts with a further 11 appearances from the bench.
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Sarr needs a chance to prove himself at Spurs but Conte might think another loan move suits best so he can get regular minutes rather than being limited to sporadic appearances, even with Premier League matches now offering the possibility to make five substitutions.
Academy product Harvey White, 20, could then be the fifth-choice midfielder after Bentancur, Bissouma, Hojbjerg and Skipp, although he too has been linked with a loan move. Spurs have already loaned out Joe Rodon, Troy Parrott and Dane Scarlett while selling Jack Clarke, Steven Bergwijn and Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Outgoings it appears will be the main priority between now and September 1, though Destiny Udogie – the young Udinese left-back – looks Spurs bound to become their seventh summer signing. He will be loaned back out to the Italian club though, and it looks like Tanganga and Sarr may join him in sealing temporary moves elsewhere.