Tottenham Hotspur: Predicted Starting XI For The 2023/24 Season
Under Ange Postecoglou, who put pen to paper on a four-year deal to become the new Spurs manager back in June, Tottenham Hotspur is one of the teams to keep an eye on this upcoming season.
The 2023/24 season of the English Premier League looks to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent history. According to Sports Brief, English clubs spent nearly twice as much (€1.8 billion) as the second highest-spending league, Serie A (€650 million), so far in the transfer window.
Postecoglou has been quietly transforming the Lilywhites during this transfer window to suit his unapologetically attacking style of football. However, with an overly inflated squad of 35 first team players and Harry Kane’s transfer to Bayern Munich late into the transfer window, Postecoglou is set to face a difficult first season.
Here is our prediction of the Tottenham Hotspur XI for the upcoming season:
Goalkeeper: Guglielmo Vicario
Spurs fans can expect a new man between the sticks this season. Guglielmo Vicario, 26, signed for the Lilywhites from Empoli for €20 million this summer. The shot-stopper played 31 matches for the Serie A side during the 2022/23 season, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Vicario is an exciting up-and-coming goalkeeper and will have the difficult task of filling in the boots of captain Hugo Lloris, who looks set to leave the club after 11 years.
Right-Back: Emerson Royal
The right back position will be one of the most interesting experiments for Postecoglou this season. Pedro Porro, who recently signed from Sporting Lisbon for a transfer fee of €45 million, will not be the first-choice in this position. Porro showed his ability going forward quickly after joining Tottenham on an initial loan deal in January 2023, scoring 3 goals and registering 3 assists in 15 Premier League games last season. However, his defensive weaknesses will be exposed in Postecoglou’s 4-at-the-back system. For this reason, we predict that the manager will prefer to use Emerson Royal, who performed well defensively last season, as his starting right back. His aerial ability will be particularly important to Tottenham’s defense. However, Spurs fans can expect Porro to challenge Royal for the starting spot.
Right Center-Back: Cristian Romero
While Tottenham conceded 63 goals in the Premier League last season, perhaps the only shining light in their backline was Cristian Romero. We predict that Romero, named as one of the club’s vice captains on Saturday, will be the starting right center-back under Postecoglou ahead of Eric Dier and Davinson Sánchez. The World Cup winner recently reiterated his commitment to Spurs in an interview, saying: “I really like the Premier League, I really like Tottenham and I want to be here for many more years to come.”
Left Center-Back: Micky van de Ven
This season, Tottenham will have a new starter at the left center-back position following the transfer of 22 year-old Dutch defender Micky van de Ven from VfL Wolfsburg. van de Ven, who made the switch to North London in a transfer worth €50 million, is a tall and rapid central defender who will bring much needed pace to a Spurs side that will look to play a high line in possession under Ange Postecoglou. Even though van de Ven did not take part in any of Tottenham’s pre-season games, he was entrusted by the manager to play the full 90-minutes during his Premier League debut against Brentford F.C. over the weekend.
Left-Back: Destiny Udogie
20 year-old Italian left-back Destiny Udogie completes the Tottenham defense for the upcoming season. Udogie was signed by Spurs from Udinese Calcio in the 2022 summer transfer window and sent back to Serie A club on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 season. He was one of the standout performers during Tottenham’s pre-season. Udogie continued to impress as the starting left-back against Brentford on Sunday. Incredibly rapid and coping well in the back 4 formation, it seems that Tottenham have landed on a real gem with Destiny Udogie.
Central Midfielder: Yves Bissouma
The first player in the Spurs midfield this season will undoubtedly be Yves Bissouma. The Mali international, who struggled to get consistent gametime under Antonio Conte last season, has been the standout performer in Tottenham’s pre-season under Postecoglou. Bissouma carried his pre-season form into Tottenham’s opening game of the Premier League season against Brentford, in which he earned the Man of the Match award.
Central Midfielder: Rodrigo Bentancur
The second central midfielder starting under Postecoglou will be Rodrigo Bentancur. Bentancur has been out of action since the ACL injury he suffered during a league game against Leicester City in Feburary 2023. While the 26 year-old Uruguayan international claims he will only return to the pitch in “two or three months”, his performances during the 2022/23 season all but guarantee him a starting spot once he gets back to full fitness. We predict that Pape Matar Sarr, whom Postecoglou called “outstanding”, will see his name in the team sheet until Bentancur’s return.
Central Attacking Midfielder: James Maddison
James Maddison, Tottenham’s new vice captain and Number 10, completes the Spurs midfield. Maddison scored 10 goals and registered 9 assists in the Premier League last season. After impressing at Leicester City for five seasons, the attacking midfielder transferred to the Lilywhites for a fee of €45 million. Maddison’s creativity, which Tottenham has been desperately lacking since the exit of Christian Eriksen in 2020, has already been put on display over the weekend as he assisted both goals for Spurs in their 2-2 draw at Brentford.
Right Winger: Dejan Kulusevski
This season, Postecoglou will continue to trust Dejan Kulusevski as the starting right winger for Spurs. In June, Tottenham officially announced the permanent transfer of Kulusevski from Juventus following a successful loan at the North London club starting back in January 2022. The Swedish international has 22 goal contributions in 48 Premier League games for Spurs.
Last season, Tottenham’s defensive weaknesses were compensated by Harry Kane’s 30 Premier League goals. This season, Tottenham will expect goals from their Number 9 Richarlison in the club’s first Kane-less season since 2014. With only 1 goal in the Premier League last season, however, Richarlison must improve and live up to his €70 million price tag. There is no better time than this season, as the club’s starting striker, for Richarlison to prove his worth to the Spurs fans and the club. However, the Brazilian international could face competition from Gift Orban, who has been heavily linked with a move to the Lilywhites this summer, should the 21 year-old Nigerian striker join Spurs.
Left Winger: Son Heung-min
The final player we predict will make the Tottenham XI this season is Son Heung-min. The South Korean international struggled for goals last season, scoring only 10 in the Premier League. However, Son will feel the pressue to get back to his best this season following Kane’s exit. Postecoglou will hope that his new captain quickly rediscovers his form from the 2021/22 season when he won the Premier League Golden Boot alongside Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.