The Hugo Lloris dilemma Jose Mourinho has ahead of the summer transfer window
As club captain it is in Hugo Lloris’ brief to set an example for all others at Tottenham Hotspur, but recently the French goalkeeper has come to embody the North London club’s struggles. Once viewed as one of the best shot stoppers in the Premier League, Lloris has allowed an increasing number of errors to creep into his game over the past couple seasons.
While Lloris certainly wasn’t solely to blame for Spurs’ Champions League exit to RB Leipzig, the 33-year-old was far from his best, allowing two shots past him he would feel he could have kept out. This was not an isolated case either. These sort of mistakes have become the norm for the French international. He has allowed his standards to slip.
But is Lloris a cause of Tottenham’s recent troubles or a symptom of them instead? Spurs’ problems have only been exacerbated further since the appointment of Jose Mourinho with the Portuguese coach struggling to find answers. Would dropping Lloris or finding a replacement for the Frenchman solve anything?
Even in light of recent errors, Lloris remains Tottenham’s best option between the posts. Paulo Gazzaniga filled in for the 33-year-old in Lloris’ absence through injury, but the Argentine also had shaky moments behind Mourinho’s defence. Indeed, Gazzaniga can be rash in some of his decision making and unsettles many of the defenders in front of him.
With this in mind, dropping Lloris isn’t an option. Mourinho doesn’t have a better goalkeeper on his books at present and so the French World Cup winner doesn’t have much to worry about in the immediate term. Having been Spurs’ number one for the best part of a decade, though, one wonders if Loris has become somewhat complacent in his starting line security.
There are goalkeepers out there that Spurs could target if they are intent on finding a replacement for Lloris. Andre Onana has been linked with a move to the North London club, with the Ajax goalkeeper reportedly ready to leave the Eredivisie club. Closer to home, Dean Henderson and Nick Pope could also be options this summer. Ben Foster might be an option to push Lloris for his number one shirt.
A move for a new goalkeeper, however, would take up funds at a time when Tottenham need money for new outfield signings. Mauricio Pochettino was left frustrated by a lack of backing in the transfer market last summer and following the signings of Steven Bergwijn, Gedson Fernandes and Giovani Lo Celso on a permanent deal in January it might well the case that Mourinho will suffer in a similar way this summer.
Mourinho must pick his battles and replacing Lloris might not be something he can take on in the short term. He must instead hope that a string of victories will lift the confidence of the French goalkeeper. At 33 years old Lloris still has a number of years left in the tank and so there is still plenty time for him to at least halt his downward trajectory.
Lloris came to embody the successes of the Pochettino era at Spurs. His signing from Lyon back in 2012 was an ambitious one and Tottenham was the perfect place for him to continue to develop. Pochettino’s Tottenham were among the very best for this – growing young players of great potential – but Lloris and the club have not kicked on since then.