Tottenham Hotspur have had a plethora of talented players on their books throughout the years, but some have either been sold too early or slipped through the net as youngsters.
Football FanCast has ranked 11 players Spurs should never have sold, from least to most embarrassing.
Kyle Walker to Manchester City – £50m (2017)
Admittedly, Spurs were probably pretty powerless in preventing this move when the wealthy Citizens slapped £50m down on the table, so that’s why Kyle Walker is in 10th, rather than higher in these rankings.
Notwithstanding that, could Spurs have shown a little more ambition? Could they have dug their heels in and refused to sell one of the world’s best right-backs…
Perhaps if the club showed their intent and tied Walker down to a new deal and fended off interest from City in the process, they could have mounted a serious challenge for the league title, particularly when you look at the depth of talent they had in their ranks at the time and the fact they’d only recently finished second – above Manchester City.
Those 3-4 years under Pochettino were probably their best shot at winning an elusive Premier League title, and selling Walker certainly didn’t help those aspirations.
Juan Foyth to Villarreal – £13m (2021)
When Tottenham Hotspur outlaid £8m to sign Juan Foyth from Estudiantes in 2017, it appeared an inspired signing at the time.
The 19-year-old was a highly regarded Argentina under-20 international and seemingly had all the capabilities to become a key figure in Spurs’ backline for years to come.
But after making just 32 appearances across a three-year spell at the north London club, he was shipped out on loan to La Liga outfit Villarreal, who later made his loan move a permanent one.
Since his switch to Spain, Foyth has become the player Spurs thought they were getting when they signed him, helping Villarreal win their first piece of major silverware after starring in the 2021 Europa League final, defeating Manchester United via a penalty shoot-out.
The 25-year-old now has 18 senior Argentina caps to his name and is entering the prime years of his career, so perhaps Spurs let him go too soon…
Armando Broja to Chelsea – Free (2009)
Armando Broja was at Tottenham Hotspur’s academy for two years before making the switch to the club he supported, Chelsea. And the catalyst for that move was quite remarkable…
Speaking to The Players’ Tribune last year, Broja spoke about the game that made Chelsea sign him: “We won 12-0 I think, and I scored nine.
“Straight after that, the two Chelsea guys came over and said ‘wow, we want you’. When they said that I didn’t think of anything else, I just wanted to join Chelsea.
“So eventually that obviously did happen and joined Chelsea end of U9s, start of U10s, so I’ve been there since then.”
Again, it must be noted that Spurs were obviously powerless in preventing the forward from departing, but nevertheless, it’s certainly a bit of a sore one considering Broja’s early promise.
Kyle Walker-Peters to Southampton – £12m (2020)
Kyle-Walker Peters is an accomplished full-back and very versatile – a trait that is growing increasingly popular nowadays. So Spurs letting the young defender leave for just £12m three years ago looks like an error.
His value is now surely beyond that, and the Lilywhites could’ve done with his profile over the last few seasons – particularly when they were in the market for a right-back earlier this year before outlaying £39m on Pedro Porro.
Admittedly, the 26-year-old is now plying his trade in the Championship with Southampton, but he quite clearly has the capabilities to be a top-half Premier League player at least, as he’s evinced in recent years.
Jack Clarke to Sunderland – Undisclosed (2022)
Spurs signed Jack Clarke for £8.5m from Leeds United in the summer of 2019 before shipping him back on loan to the West Yorkshire club for the season.
Upon his return to north London, he wasn’t given a sniff and eventually joined Sunderland on a permanent deal last summer, having made just four appearances for the Lilywhites.
Now a year later, the 22-year-old is widely considered as one of the best wingers in the Championship after a stellar campaign last term, and was the subject of a bid in excess of £10m from newly promoted Burnley in the summer.
So quite clearly, his stock has risen dramatically following his Spurs exit, which now appears rather premature.
Noni Madueke to PSV – Free (2018)
Noni Madueke left Spurs’ academy at the age of 16 and turned down Manchester United because he wanted to play senior-level football. Dutch outfit PSV provided him with that opportunity and gave him the platform to raise his profile.
Across his four and a half years in the Netherlands, Madueke quickly became one of England’s most promising youngsters before Chelsea snapped him up in January for £29m.
Whilst he hasn’t pulled up many trees so far for the west Londoners, he’s clearly a talented player, and at just 21 years old, there is plenty of time to develop.
So purely from a financial perspective, given the fee he went for, Spurs made an error in not providing him with a clear path to first-team football.
Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid – £20m (2019)
Letting Kieran Trippier depart in 2019 whilst he was in his prime years was a strange one, in hindsight. Admittedly, his final season at the club saw his form dip, but one below-par campaign wouldn’t usually be the catalyst for a departure in the summer.
Yet, the north Londoners deemed it the right time to cash in, as they sold the then-28-year-old to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid for £20m.
His two-and-a-half-year stint in La Liga saw the England international establish himself as one of Europe’s best right-backs as he won the Spanish title in his second season.
January 2022 saw Trippier return to the Premier League with Newcastle United, where he has continued his marvellous form, helping the Magpies achieve a fourth-placed finish last term.
The experienced defender is now captaining the Tynesiders as they begin a new era, welcoming Champions League nights back to St James’ Park.
He is also a crucial member of the England squad and is often preferred ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James, evincing just how highly thought of he is by Gareth Southgate.
It begs the question: did Spurs make a mistake in letting him depart?
Paulinho to GZ Evergrande – £9.9m (2015)
When Spurs allowed Brazillian midfielder Paulinho to depart for China in 2015, it didn’t appear to be a transfer blunder. His £17m move from Corinthians two years prior hadn’t exactly gone to plan, so the north London club were willing to cut their losses.
But Spurs officials were certainly in for a shock when Barcelona outlaid £36m to sign him two years after his exit. Their £9.9m sale then looked rather ill-considered.
And his debut season at the Catalan giants saw him become a key figure in midfield, scoring nine goals whilst laying on three assists.
The 53-cap Brazil international won the La Liga title and the Copa del Rey before returning to GZ Evergrande in 2018 for £44.2m.
So, following his 2015 Spurs exit, Paulinho went on to become one of the best midfielders in Europe for a time and racked up over £80m in transfer sales.
Maybe Spurs made a bit of an error with this one…
Peter Crouch to QPR – £60k (2000)
From a financial viewpoint, these next two are howlers…
July 2000 saw Tottenham Hotspur sell a 19-year-old Peter Crouch to Queens Park Rangers for just £60,000. The next nine years saw the forward amass 114 goals and £32.1m in transfer fees before Spurs re-signed the forward for £9m – 150 times his original sale price.
Clearly, whoever sanctioned his sale as a teenager didn’t recognise the towering centre-forward’s potential, and that decision turned out to be a very costly one for the Lilywhites.
He finished on a whopping 199 goals in his career.
Jermain Defoe to Portsmouth – £7.5m (2008)
Much like Crouch’s selection, this transfer blunder makes the list due to its financial clumsiness.
The north Londoners sold Jermain Defoe to Portsmouth for an initial £7.5m in January 2008, before re-signing him less than 12 months later for £15m – double the fee they sold him for.
The 11 months and 25 days that ensued after his Spurs exit saw him net 18 times in a Portsmouth shirt – not bad going for someone who was oddly deemed surplus to requirements.
Marcus Edwards to Vitória S.C. – Free (2019)
Another academy player let go far too prematurely. Marcus Edwards left Spurs in 2019, aged 20, on a free transfer to join Portuguese top-flight side Vitória S.C.
A fruitful two and a half years at Vitória prompted one of the nation’s most decorated sides, Sporting CP, to sign him in January 2022, inserting a €60m (£52m) release clause in his contract.
The English wideman has flourished at the Lions and starred in their Champions League group game against Spurs last year, scoring a brilliant opening goal in a 1-1 draw.
Edwards picked up the Player of the Match award that night and certainly made his former club look foolish in letting him go.