Ever since the wonderful Mousa Dembélé left, there has always been something missing in the midfield of Tottenham Hotspur.
In a bid to remedy this, Tottenham brought in flamboyant midfielders Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso. Signing Ndombele for a club-record £55 million pounds, and initially loaning Lo Celso in August of 2019, then signing him permanently in January for £28 million.
However, since signing, both Lo Celso and Ndombele have been troubled by injury and fitness issues, with Jose Mourinho publicly stating that they both need to be physically fitter.
When they do play, their talent is undeniable. They are both still so young, 24 and 23, respectively, so the scope for their careers is huge.
The key to unlocking both? Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. After a rocky end to his season at Southampton, which saw him stripped of the captain’s armband, Højbjerg set his sights on Tottenham Hotspur as his next move.
At the time, Spurs academy product Kyle Walker-Peters was on loan at Southampton, and impressed. This lead fans to think that a swap deal was inevitable involving both players.
However, both transfers were reportedly completed separately. With Walker-Peters heading to Southampton permanently for £13 million, and Højbjerg going the other way for £15 million.
Another masterclass by Daniel Levy, technically paying only £3 million. Højbjerg was given the number 5 shirt, which used to belong to Jan Vertonghen, now plying his trade in Portugal for Benfica.
In his first interview Højbjerg said, “I wanted to play for a club where i could see myself for many years, and Tottenham was the one.”
Previously, he had played for Bayern Munich II, Bayern Munich, FC Augsburg (on loan), Schalke 04 (on loan) and Southampton from 2016 – 2019.
He won his first cap for Denmark in 2016 and since then has represented his nation 37 times.
Højbjerg has made an extremely good impression on Spurs fans in his eight league appearances so far. He is a real asset as he is physically strong and not afraid of a tackle. Before Højbjerg was bought, the Tottenham midfield lacked someone that could acts as a screen in front of the back four, Højbjerg does just that.
Statistically he impresses too, with the most passes out of anyone in the league so far, and the 6th most tackles. What’s more, 75% of Tottenham’s goals this season have been started by a Højbjerg tackle, interception or pass. Which clearly shows how invaluable he is to the team.
So far this season, Ndombele and Højbjerg have formed a great midfield partnership that does wonders for Tottenham. They compliment each other perfectly as Ndombele can dribble past the opponents with ease after Højbjerg uses his physicality and positional intelligence to win the ball back.
Playing every minute possible in the league so far, Højbjerg has definitely shown he has what it takes to start in Spurs’ midfield for the foreseeable future. He could be a key part in helping Tottenham challenge for the Europa League and potentially even the Premier League.
Written by Josh Hudson, edited by Joey Pickthall.