New Tottenham Hotspur manager, Ange Postecoglou, is a man on a mission to not only transform the culture and playing style at the club, but also to bring in new faces that suit his defined philosophy.
Uncompromising in his approach to play ultra-attacking football and to dominate opponents, the tactically sophisticated Australian is definitely keen to shake things up at Spurs, who are in desperate need of a refresh.
The first heavy hitter that’s been linked with a move to Spurs is Leicester City’s gifted exceptional midfielder, James Maddison, who would be a perfect fit for Postecoglou’s plans.
Set to battle Newcastle United fiercely for the recently relegated star’s signature, Spurs should be doing all they can to snap up the Englishman.
A man that would slot in ideally as an attacking midfielder within the 57-year-old’s framework, Maddison would be a brilliant candidate to help bring Ange’s style to life.
Ingenuitive, imaginative and able to conjure moments of magic out of nowhere, both from open play and set-pieces, it’s easy to see why Maddison is a man in demand.
Having bagged 10 goals and supplied nine assists for the struggling Foxes last season, he yet again underlined what a weapon he is with the ball at his feet.
Boasting a wicked first touch, slick ball control and very two-footed, this gives him a firm foundation to be such a nuisance.
Aware of his surroundings due to his scanning, the fast thinking, technically proficient dynamo does some serious damage on the dribble, where he swiftly turns away from pressure, shifts the ball to gain separation, cuts inside rapidly to make room to shoot and outfoxes foes using his handy repertoires of manoeuvres.
Being so press resistant and comfortable in the face of pressure, it’s notable how he can draw multi-markers to open passing lanes to free up teammates and draw fouls in advantageous zones in the final third (where he can then put his set-piece prowess to good use).
An absolute pass master who reads the play and the movement of his colleagues astutely, plus has the execution to match, his aptitude in this regard is a massive weapon in his armoury.
Capable of opening up defences and breaking lines at any time, his precision and penchant for completing passes that very few players see is a joy to watch. Be it threading through balls in behind and down the channels, penetrating blocks to hit the feet of attackers, intricately combining to unlock backlines with nifty flicks and back-heels, striking pinpoint crosses and cutbacks or hitting booming switches of play, he has a delivery to accompany any occasion.
A dead-ball specialist to boot, who possesses a sublime ball striking technique, that enables him to get immense whip, dip, swerve and power onto his deliveries, this elevates his worth handsomely.
“He has the last pass you don’t see in a lot of midfield players. He is a huge talent and he can play forward very quickly because he has vision in his game. We want to add intensity and goalscoring to help him. He is a wonderful player and he has made great strides. I see a lot of potential and he is willing to work on his game,” explained England coach Gareth Southgate.
“He’s a player of outstanding technical ability. He has an eye for an incisive pass, his set-play delivery is world class – absolutely top.”
His wizardry in possession also transfers over to his finishing, where he’s shown on countless instances how vital his eye for goal is. Aside from his free-kick and penalty spot expertise, it’s impressive how he can parlay placement, power and instincts to find the back of the net in open play using a wide array of finishes.
So alert to vacant spaces and gaps within defensive units, Maddison’s movement deserves plenty of praise as well. Intelligent and forever surveying his surroundings, he pounces decisively to give the ball holder quality progressive options.
Knowing when to drop into the half spaces, exploit openings between the lines, embark on devastating surges into the area, hold his runs to get free at the edge of the box and form overloads wide and centrally, he’s a nightmare for adversaries to keep tabs on.
Adept at performing positional rotations and operating in many roles in a host of formations, this would further endear him to Postecoglou.
By the numbers, upon comparing him to Arsenal midfield maestro in Martin Odegaard this season using Wyscout data, Maddison admirably holds the ascendancy in a plethora of offensive metrics related to expected assists per 90, crosses p90, dribbles p90, successful dribble percentage, offensive duels p90, touches inside the box p90, progressive runs p90, shots p90 and passes into the final third p90. Not bad at all given the gap in quality between the two teams and considering Leicester didn’t have anywhere near as much possession as the Gunners.
Such a multifaceted threat who can hurt teams in a variety of ways, he would relish playing under the Aussie, where he would enjoy the freedom he’d be granted within the system to breathe life into their final third adventures.
While nothing is confirmed yet, there’s no doubting Maddison would be a perfect fit at this new-look Spurs, as Postecoglou’s approach would be so conducive to getting the best out of him.
Unique, capable of both scoring and creating and available now, it’ll be fascinating to see who wins the battle royale for his services next season.
With Newcastle in the Champions League and Spurs with no European football, Spurs will need to bring out all the stops to get their man and hope the pull of the exciting Postecoglou project is enough to convince the star Englishman that Tottenham is the right place for him.
Watch this space in the race for Maddison, for where he’ll end up is still anyone’s guess at this point.