Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris revealed earlier this week he will not finish his playing career with Spurs, admitting a desire to play in Major League Soccer before hanging up his gloves.
Although his time in North London has been trophyless so far, the French shot-stopper, 32, has played a huge part in the club’s recent good fortune, including their 2018/19 Champions League campaign where they finished as runners up.
Signed from Lyon by Andre Villas-Boas in 2012, Lloris quickly established himself as first-choice between the sticks.
Following the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino in 2014, Lloris signed a five-year contract extension and twelve months later was made club skipper after the departure of Younes Kaboul.
Four years down the line and Lloris still wears the armband, has 245 appearances for the club – and counting – and has lifted the FIFA World Cup as captain.
Last season the Frenchman showed just how vital he can be, coming back from a tough start to the campaign on and off the pitch to save three consecutive penalties, from Jamie Vardy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Sergio Aguero.
The stops effectively sealed a top four finish in the Premier League and put Tottenham in the Champions League semi-finals.
But all good things must come to an end and he’s admitted he will not end his career in north London.
“I still have a few years ahead of me. In any case, I will do everything to make the most of it. You also have to know when to say stop at the right time, but I’m not against the idea of discovering something new.”
It’ll be a sad day for Tottenham fans around the world when Lloris leaves, but the question on everyone’s mind will be – who will replace him? talkSPORT.com take a look below.
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Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)
When he made his senior debut for the Italian national side in 2016, Gianluigi Donnarumma became the youngest to do so at the age of 17 years and 189 days, and is often regarded to as the heir to Buffon.
Three years later and he has a total of 145 appearances for Milan and is still only 20.
During his first four seasons as Milan’s first choice keeper they finished between fifth and seventh in the league.
In the same four-season period, Tottenham have established themselves as Champions League regulars, finishing in the top four in each, including a second place finish behind Chelsea in the 2016-17 campaign.
If fortunes for both sides carry on in the same way, it would be hard for Donnarumma to turn down the opportunity to play in Europe’s elite tournament.
Nick Pope (Burnley)
Sean Dyche’s No.1 took the long way to the top.
He signed for Charlton Athletic in 2011 having come through the ranks at Ipswich Town and spent a three year spell at non-league club Bury Town but then spent several loan spells away from the club.
Eventually he broke into the team and soon he was on his way to Burnley where he became No.1 after Tom Heaton sustained a lengthy injury in September 2017.
For the remainder of the season Pope continued to impress between the sticks for the clarets and was selected by Gareth Southgate to represent England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
An injury saw Pope’s season stall last year but now, following the departure of Heaton to Aston Villa, Pope has started the current campaign as Burnley’s No.1 and was selected by Gareth Southgate for the September internationals.
Five years Lloris’ junior, Pope could have the perfect amount of experience to make the leap from Burnley to north London.
Freddie Woodman – (Newcastle – on loan at Swansea)
The 22-year-old went through the ranks at Crystal Palace, before switching to Tyneside in 2013.
So far, Woodman only has four first-team appearances to his name in a Newcastle shirt, all of which came in the FA Cup, and has spent much of his time out on loan.
The English shot-stopper’s finest achievements so far have come in an England shirt. First, in the 2014 Under-17’s European Championship, where he saved a penalty in the final as England beat Holland, and three years later at the Under-20’s World Cup in 2017, where he once again saved a penalty in the final as England saw off Venezuela to win the tournament.
Currently on loan at Swansea City for the 2019/20 season, Woodman has started every league match so far, keeping three clean sheets in the opening seven games, including one against title favourites Leeds United.
A young English talent between the sticks could tick all the boxes for Mauricio Pochettino and could ensure he has a new number one for many years to come.
Paulo Gazzaniga (27) – Tottenham
How about a man already in the building?
Gazzaniga joined from Southampton in summer 2017 as cover for Lloris, the Argentinian made great first-team impressions in cup competitions both domestic and on the European stage, penalty shootout heroics against Watford in the Carabao Cup and helping Tottenham to a 2-1 home win over PSV in November 2018.
His performances earned him a first ever call-up to the Argentina squad and he made his debut against Mexico where he kept a clean sheet.
With a handful of impressive performances under his name in a Tottenham shirt the Argentinian will be fully aware of how fellow Argentinian Pochettino likes his team to play.
So, maybe the man Tottenham need to fill in for Lloris’ big gloves is already in right in front of them.
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