Nuno Espirito Santo and Tottenham can start planning their Europa Conference League journey following last Friday’s group phase draw.
Coming through their play-off tie against Pacos de Ferreira with a 3-1 aggregate win, Spurs will now face Rennes, Vitesse and Slovenian side NS Mura in Group G of UEFA’s newly-formed competition.
Rennes are first up for the Lilywhites later this month, with the encounter taking place at Roazhon Park on Thursday, September 16.
While their group opener in France is just two weeks ago, Espirito Santo and the club have until 11pm on Thursday evening to submit an A list of players and a B list of players for the competition.
Clubs may not exceed 25 players on List A during the season, with the list compromising of no more than 17 non-homegrown players and a minimum of eight places reserved for locally trained players.
What has been problematic for Tottenham managers in the past is the club’s high number of non-homegrown players in N17, however.
In a good position when it comes to the Premier League as the rules are slightly different, players such as Joe Rodon, Ben Davies and Matt Doherty are not considered homegrown by UEFA after coming through the system in Wales and Republic of Ireland, respectively.
Despite representing England on the international stage, Eric Dier is also classed as non-homegrown player by both after his footballing education in Portugal as a youngster prior to his move to Tottenham in 2014.
Last season, Rodon wasn’t included in Spurs’ European party after signing from Swansea City after the squad submission deadline.
Jose Mourinho did have the chance to include him in his plans for the knockout phase but he elected against registering him as Spurs were already at their limit of 17 and it would have meant one player would have to be dropped from the squad.
Mauricio Pochettino also had numerous problems during his Tottenham tenure when it came to submitting a squad for European football.
Erik Lamela, Vincent Janssen and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou missed the cut at various times, with Pochettino making it clear it was a “painful” decision back in 2018 to omit Juan Foyth from his squad to instead bring in Lucas Moura following his move from PSG.
When speaking in November 2018 about Foyth’s absence from the squad, Pochettino stated that the club’s non-homegrown player numbers was a “mistake that at this level of football we cannot repeat again” and that they needed to find a “solution” to the issue.
Well, new managing director of football Fabio Paratici has finally solved the conundrum following Tottenham’s 2021 summer transfer business.
Pierluigi Gollini, Emerson Royal, Cristian Romero, Pape Matar Sarr and Bryan Gil all joined the club ahead of Tuesday’s 11pm transfer deadline, with Sarr returning to Metz on a season-long loan deal.
In terms of departures, Foyth and Paulo Gazzaniga, who were both not included on Tottenham’s European list last campaign, were two of the first to leave, with Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela other notable exits as well as Carlos Vinicius’ return to Benfica after his loan spell.
Still touch and go in terms of the 17-man non-homegrown limit despite a number moving on, Moussa Sissoko’s transfer to Watford and Serge Aurier’s deadline day departure has seen Paratici and the club reach their goal of sorting the issue out for good.
Tottenham are now bang on the limit of 17 when it comes to their foreign player numbers and it means that Espirito is not in the position where he has to give someone the bad news that they have missed out on his European selection.
A tough call for both Pochettino and Mourinho in the past, naming a European squad before Thursday’s 11pm deadline should be rather straightforward for the new Tottenham boss.
Tottenham’s Europa Conference League squad breakdown
Non-homegrown players: Hugo Lloris, Pierluigi Gollini; Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty, Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez, Joe Rodon, Ben Davies, Sergio Reguilon; Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso; Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura, Bryan Gil, Son Heung-min
Club trained: Brandon Austin, Japhet Tanganga, Harry Winks, Harry Kane
Association trained: Ryan Sessegnon, Dele Alli, Jack Clarke
List B: Oliver Skipp, Nile John, Dane Scarlett
Source by Football London