According to Wikipedia, Argentina is famous for just three things. The first of which is steak, the second is wine and the third is for harbouring an ungodly amount of Nazi’s at the end of the Second World War…..yet we are now 70 years on and they still struggle to win a penalty shoot-out. Is it just me that finds that a little odd? Anyway, when they aren’t busy crying about something that Madonna apparently did to them, they also have a reputation for producing some pretty handy footballers….a number of which we have been lucky enough to enjoy at White Hart Lane down the years. In fact, this season has been all about the Argentinians for us. Firstly, Paulo Gazzaniga has stepped up when needed, effectively ending Michel Vorm’s brief but nonetheless soul destroying reign of error whilst securing himself the number two spot in the process. Then we have the resurgent Erik Lamela, who is scoring and assisting for fun and statistically, is our most productive attacking player so far this season. Plus he tries really hard and runs like a chicken, so he ticks all the boxes for me. And last but by no means least, is our latest Wunderkind and the main protagonist of this blog, Juan Foyth. He may look like he belongs in the Disney Club but at just 20 years of age, not only does he have bundles of potential for the future but more importantly, he is also the proud owner of the most pun-tastic name in world football right now…..which will undoubtedly account for about 90% of what you are about to read. I have nothing to apologise for. He may have only started three games for us this season but much has already been written about the young Argentine and the maturity that he has shown already has him earmarked as Juan to keep an eye on. As a classy, ball playing centre back, I think it is safe to say that Mauricio Pochettino sees a lot of himself in this talented youngster. Not literally of course……we will leave that sort of thing to Arsene Wenger! And whilst we are on the subject of Arsenal’s most famous “specialist in failure”, if rumours are to be believed, he may well be on the verge of landing a new role, just six months after being chased out of Arsenal with torches, pitchforks and passive/aggressive banners. With both the country and the British government on the verge of a catastrophic Brexit related collapse, there is surely only one man that Theresa May can possibly turn to in her hour of need. Who else has the ability or the experience to get us out of Europe at the earliest possible opportunity, whilst also knowing how to stubbornly hold on to a job that you are hopelessly unqualified for? That my friends, is good political satire.
But anyway, let’s turn our attention back to Mr. Foyth, who was initially signed as Juan for the future. Having received the Man of the Match award for a commanding and composed debut against West Ham in the Carabao Cup (the Carling Cup in old money), it very much looked as if we had found a ready-made replacement for the recently injured Jan Vertonghen. Not only did this performance give us a rare glimpse into why Poch worked so hard to bring his compatriot to the club in 2017, but it also condemned West Ham to yet another defeat at the hands of a makeshift Tottenham team. It must be hard on their fans to lose two cup finals in the space of just 11 days…..still, I suppose that is more cup finals than we have enjoyed recently! Now I know that it is not fair to make fun of those less fortunate than yourself, especially during the festive season, but I find it absolutely hilarious that this latest victory means that Spurs have now won more consecutive games at the London Stadium (3) than West Ham ever have…..and they have been there for over two years! However, it is not all doom and gloom for our government sponsored friends from the east……impressively, they are still the only team in the league to have had more pitch invaders (4) than they have home victories this season (2) and they currently top the “Football Violence League” that was recently released by the Home Office, for having more fans arrested than any other club in the 2017/18 season. If you can’t beat them…..beat them! Anyway, with the increasingly restless West Ham faithful well and truly put back in their little box (or caravan, as they like to call it), we headed up to Wolverhampton, which appears to have been annexed by Portugal over the summer, to take on the newly promoted Jorge Mendes FC. After an indifferent start, we somehow found ourselves 3-0 up and cruising…..which as any battle-hardened Tottenham fan will tell you, is a very dangerous scoreline for us! But in the space of ten frenetic second half minutes, the previously composed young Foyth seemed to channel his inner Dejan Lovren and proceeded to give away two penalties in quick succession. By the end of the game, we only had Hugo Lloris to thank as we clung on for a rather desperate and unnecessarily stressful 3-2 victory. From my perspective, I certainly haven’t been this frustrated by wolves since I made the mistake of renting The Wolf of Wall Street on DVD. Spoiler alert….there are no fucking wolves in that movie! It’s a very misleading title. Anyway, having once again succeeded in temporarily elevating my blood pressure and shaving a couple of years off my already underwhelming life expectancy, we dusted ourselves off and prepared to go Foyth and prosper once more, this time away at Crystal Palace.
In a rather bold move, Poch decided to keep faith with our calamitous young Argentine and as it turned out, we needn’t have worried. The gafffer was duly rewarded with not only a clean sheet…..but also a maiden goal for the club and yet another Man of the Match performance. Now, I am fairly certain that there are no Argentinian children, growing up in the slums of La Plata, who dream of one day scoring a scrappy headed goal in the pissing rain away at Selhurst Park when (if) they grow up. But maybe I am wrong…..I have literally no idea what millennials want nowadays. Except for maybe smashed avocado on toast? Anyway, on the off chance that I am wrong, then Juan Foyth was certainly living the hell out of that particular dream….and probably celebrated accordingly, with smashed avocado on toast. So you could be forgiven for thinking that things couldn’t get any better for our little baby faced assassin, right? Not so, apparently. On the back of just three first team starts for Spurs, Foyth only went and got himself called up to the Argentinian national team for the very first time. Admittedly, this isn’t a particularly difficult feat nowadays, as they seem to have adopted a revolving door selection policy towards both players and coaches alike, but it is still impressive for someone who has barely played a competitive game in nearly two years! And what did he do when he was given the opportunity to make his national team debut? Thats right…..he made it Juan to remember by putting in another Man of the Match performance and stealing the plaudits as he inspired his country to a comfortable 2-0 win over Mexico. And who knows, if being a professional footballer doesn’t turn out to be his cup of tea in the future, he may well be suited to a career in American politics, such is his proven track record of keeping out the Mexicans! He could even bring Paulo Gazzaniga along to help him place the wall!
So there you have it…..there is only Juan Juan Foyth! But things could have turned out so much differently for both the player and the club. In the summer of 2017, he appeared to be nailed on to join Paris Saint-Germain from Estudiantes and looked destined to be another in the long list of Juan’s that got away. And let’s be honest, they could have paid him significantly more money and all but guaranteed him at least a couple of titles…..even if winning the French League is the footballing equivalent of beating up a midget. But for whatever reason, this deal collapsed. Maybe it was because PSG (allegedly) insist upon racially profiling all of their new signings or maybe the kid was just keen to work with Poch....and to be honest, who can blame him? Anyway, in a predictably Levy-esque transfer deal, we managed to commit daylight robbery by getting £18 million out of Stoke for Kevin Wimmer (which they are understandably still bitter about) and then replaced him with the young Argentine for just Juan Foyth of the cost! Say what you like about Daniel Levy but he knows a bargain when he sees Juan. And the rest, as they say, is history. He is now a vital part of a Tottenham “B-Team” that is proving to be far more resilient and far more successful than any of us ever imagined. In a season that has seen a number of lengthy injuries to key players, we have been heavily reliant on the likes of Foyth, Paulo Gazzaniga, Erik Lamela, Harry Winks and dare I say it, even Moussa Sissoko….not just to plug the gaps but to actually step up and win us games. As a result, despite not playing particularly attractive football, we have managed to get off to our best ever start to a Premier League campaign and currently have more away points in 2018 than any other team. To put this in context, Spurs have only ever won 166 away games since the Premier League came into existence 21 years ago and rather incredibly, Mauricio Pochettino has overseen 44 of them. That is 27% of all our away games…..ever! Now, despite all of the positives, the cynic in me would suggest that the sudden emergence of Juan Foyth in the first team is really just the pre-cursor to Toby Alderweireld’s long awaited departure. I sincerely hope that I am wrong but if this eventuality does come to pass, we can at least be excited about a future South American centre back pairing of Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth. And as has always been the case under Poch, even if we do eventually lose a first team player to our rivals, we know that we won’t be left without a Plan B because we already have the next Toby Alderweireld on our books…..he is already Juan of our own! COYS