A rash of injuries has put a damper on Tottenham’s plans.
“Tottenham may not be able to sell midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in January after midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur was confirmed to be out for an extended period with injury,” the Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
Hojbjerg joined Tottenham from Southampton in 2020 and was an immediate starter in the midfield under Jose Mourinho in the 2020-2021 season.
He remained active in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 seasons, playing 36 and 35 league games respectively. His official Tottenham record is 10 goals and 16 assists in 158 appearances.
However, in the 2023-2024 season, when new manager Ange Postecoglou opted for Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr as the main central midfielders, Hojbjerg began to play only as a substitute shortly after the start of the season. It wasn’t until October that he started full-time.
But he wasn’t given the chance because he was good. He played his first full game in the league this season when rival Bissouma was unavailable due to a red card.
Add to that another competitor, Bentancur, who returned from a long-term injury and started to play a little bit last month.
With his return to Bentancourt, it looked like Hojbjerg’s place in the lineup was going to be narrowed, but something unexpected happened. Bentancur’s injury woes returned.
Bentancur started the match against Aston Villa in the 13th round of the 2023-2024 English Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, on April 26, but was substituted off in the 32nd minute. It was an injury. The team lost the game 1-2.
After a lengthy injury layoff last season, Bentancur returned to the starting lineup, only to fall victim to a “killer tackle”. Bentancur has been on a long rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament tear he suffered against Leicester City in February.
Here’s what happened on the day. Aston Villa’s Matt Cash tackled Bentancur as he attempted to build up from the back. Bentancur went down and was in pain for a while. He had a very pained look on his face. The tackle was too deep. It wasn’t even a contested ball situation. His Tottenham teammates were furious.
Bentancur, who announced his return to action last month, made his first post-injury start of the season after coming on as a substitute, but it ended in a nightmare. He has ruptured ankle ligaments and will be out until February next year.
The mood around Hojbjerg began to change. Suddenly, he was a player who needed to stay at Tottenham.
There is one more variable. “The Africa Cup of Nations will take place from January 13 to February 11 next year,” The Telegraph reported. Xhar will play for Senegal and Bissouma for Mali,” explaining that Tottenham will be missing a number of midfielders. With Hojbjerg to fill the void, a January move could be inevitable.
Hojbjerg has been the subject of interest from other Premier League clubs. He was on the radar of Manchester United, Chelsea, and other clubs in need of midfield reinforcements. But while there was no reason to oppose a move, there is a chance that Tottenham, under different circumstances, will not let him go.
Hojbjerg is under contract with Spurs until the 2024-2025 season.