One item towards the very top of Fabio Paratici’s Tottenham to-do list will be to sort out the club’s problematic non-homegrown player numbers.
A matter that caused issues for both Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho in the past when naming a squad for European competition, Spurs’ new managing director of football needs to eradicate the problem for incoming boss Paulo Fonseca.
Pochettino previously had to leave the likes of Juan Foyth, Erik Lamela and Vincent Janssen out of his squad for the Champions League, with Mourinho last season having to give Paulo Gazzaniga, Gedson Fernandes and Joe Rodon the bad news that they wouldn’t be included for their Europa League campaign.
Now set to take part in the Europa Conference League after clinching seventh place on the final day in the 4-2 win at Leicester City, Fonseca will ideally not want to leave out some of his squad when it comes to European football.
Only able to name 17 non-homegrown players in their 25-man party in both the Premier League and Europe, what exactly hasn’t helped Spurs’ cause in recent years is that the rules differ slightly between the two competitions.
Welsh duo Rodon and Ben Davies are classed as non-homegrown players by the Premier League but not by UEFA, with Matt Doherty also in the same boat following his time in the Republic of Ireland as a youngster.
Eric Dier, despite representing England, is classed as a foreign player by both as he came through Sporting CP’s system before making the switch to N17 as a 20-year-old in 2014.
Foyth and Gazzaniga’s departures from the club, as well as Carlos Vinicius returning to Benfica after his loan spell, do bring the club’s foreign numbers down, although it wouldn’t exactly have a major impact on their European squad from last season as the Argentine duo weren’t included for Spurs’ Europa League journey.
Now having 16 non-homegrown players on the books as things stand, Rodon could now be included after missing out during the knockout phase of the competition but Fonseca could have a problem if a few new arrivals for next season come in who aren’t classed as homegrown players.
However, a likely departure for Serge Aurier will free up a space in the squad, with Erik Lamela another who could potentially depart if Spurs decide to move him on as he gets set to enter the final year of his contract.
Moussa Sissoko, who played a bit-part role in the second half of 2020/21, has also been linked with a move away and an exit would make life slightly easier in terms of naming a squad for the Europa Conference League.
Spurs may currently be just under the 17 non-homegrown player limit but work still has to be done especially with the club looking to bring in some fresh faces after two frustrating years at the club.
Paratici is going to have a huge say on who stays and who goes this summer and it will be on him to ensure the problem Pochettino and Mourinho previously had is no longer an issue for Fonseca.
Tottenham’s 2021/22 non-homegrown players
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris
Defenders: Serge Aurier, Matt Doherty*, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Joe Rodon*, Davinson Sanchez, Ben Davies*, Sergio Reguilon
Midfielders: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Moussa Sissoko, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele
Attackers: Son Heung-min, Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela
*Classed as homegrown in the Premier League
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Tottenham’s 2021/22 homegrown players
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Alfie Whiteman
Defenders: Japhet Tanganga, Ryan Sessegnon, Cameron Carter-Vickers
Midfielders: Harry Winks, Dele Alli, Oliver Skipp, Harvey White
Attackers: Harry Kane, Dane Scarlett, Jack Clarke, Troy Parrott