Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed a resurgence under Antonio Conte as they look to finish fourth in the table and build around the Italian manager’s vision, however, it seems they could lose one of their star men this summer in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as rumours arise.
The Danish midfielder has been a key man for Conte in the heart of midfield alongside January signing Rodrigo Bentancur with academy prospect Oliver Skipp out through injury, so it is surprising to see rumours of his possible departure in the summer.
He has been a mainstay in the midfield since he joined the club back in 2020 when Jose Mourinho signed him from fellow Premier League outfit Southampton. In this time, he has racked up 96 appearances for the north London team, scoring five goals and providing nine assists in this time.
While the departure of Hojbjerg might not be at the top of their priority list, there is perhaps a good argument for letting the midfielder go, and we at TIF have looked into why Spurs could possibly look to offload.
Hojbjerg’s stock may well be at its highest value during his career, as he has consistently started under Conte, playing 31 games this season with two goals and two assists to his name, as well as averaging 1.9 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 1.1 clearances and 0.8 key passes per game (WhoScored).
With this kind of form and Conte urging Spurs to bring in a number of players in the summer, including another midfielder, it could prove wise for Spurs to cash in on the £36m-rated man and use that influx of cash for Daniel Levy to spend on his replacement or spread around the squad.
With a club like Newcastle reportedly keeping tabs on him, it could be argued they could get even more money for Hojbjerg as the Magpies have money to burn with their new owners and may be willing to pay what is considered over the odds for a player with his Premier League experience, who was once called “phenomenal” by his former boss, Mourinho.
One of Spurs’ highlights this season has been the emergence of academy prospect Oliver Skipp. The defensive midfielder has impressed playing in the heart of the midfield under Conte, with the Italian manager saying in December (via the Evening Standard): “This player is very young. He has really a lot of space for improvement. He played with great intensity, great passion, with heart, with soul. I think it was important because, for me, he doesn’t care if he’s only 21 years old, who deserves to play.”
His stats back this up, as in his 28 appearances in all competitions this season, he has managed 1.7 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 0.5 clearances and 0.9 dribbles per game, as well as 1.3 long balls with an 89.5% passing accuracy.
Who would you rather have?
As his manager said, he still has a lot of improvements to make, but with what we have seen so far, there is no reason he can’t reach great heights, and giving him regular first-team football will help this growth come along sooner. Selling Hojbjerg and giving these minutes to Skipp alongside Bentancur or a new midfielder will increase the chances of him breaking into the team long-term and help the 21-year-old develop further and further.
All in all, while Hojbjerg appears to be an integral part of the side, there are ways for Spurs to turn this scenario into a positive one even if they decide to sell him to a Premier League rival.