Four possible replacements for Hugo Lloris, including English wonderkid, as Tottenham star admits his future lays elsewhere

19 Sep

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has said that he will not finish his playing career at the club, citing a desire to play in the MLS before he hangs up his gloves.

Although his time in North London has been trophy-less 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.

Mauricio Pochettino and Hugo Lloris celebrate making the Champions League last season
Getty Images - Getty

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 seal 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.

Sergio Aguero sees his Champions League spot-kick saved by Lloris
Getty Images

“I do not think I’m going to finish [my career] at Tottenham,” Lloris told France Football.

“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.

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.

Donnarumma is already a top experienced goalkeeper at a young age
Getty Images - Getty

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.

Can Pope work miracles for Spurs and replace Lloris?
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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.

Will Woodman be the man to come in for Lloris in the long-term?
AFP

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.

Can Gazzaniga take over the reins from Lloris?
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Southampton vs Liverpool: Amazing Saints line-up if Liverpool and Tottenham had not signed their best players, such as Van Dijk and Bale

4 Apr

Southampton welcome Premier League title challengers Liverpool to St Mary’s on Friday night.

The game, which is live on talkSPORT, will no doubt carry a sense of nostalgia for certain members of Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Sadio Mane celebrates with Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama

Southampton have consistently produced academy graduates, who have dazzled on the south coast.

However, recent years have seen the Saints ravaged by bigger Premier League sides and taking their biggest talents fro them.

Take, for instance, the 2014/15 side under Ronald Koeman.

Littered with incredible stars, Southampton finished the season in seventh place, just two points behind Liverpool.

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However, the club are now 16th in the Premier League and are embroiled in a relegation battle.

The slow and steady decline is no doubt linked to their conveyor belt of talent being ruthlessly exploited at seemingly every turn.

But just how could they have been had they kept their best stars?

Below, talkSPORT.com looks at how Southampton could be lining up had they not been so ruthlessly raided, especially by Tottenham and Liverpool.

GOALKEEPER – Paulo Gazzaniga

Gazzaniga was signed by former boss Mauricio Pochettino

The young Argentina international is currently playing second fiddle to Hugo Lloris in north London, although that could all change following the World Cup winner’s recent woes.

Although he started his youth career with Valencia, Gazzaniga was released in 2011 and joined Gillingham on a two-year deal on the recommendation of European scout.

Just one year later, the shot-stopper was on his way to St Mary’s for their return to the Premier League and spent five years behind no.1 Fraser Forster.

The 6’5 keeper is still only 27 and could well become first choice if Lloris continues his erratic form.

SOLD TO: Tottenham Hotspur (£900k, August 2017)

RIGHT BACK – Nathaniel Clyne

Clyne became an England international while with Southampton

Like Gazzaniga, Clyne did not come through the Southampton academy, but he certainly made his name while with the Saints.

Born and raised in south London, the right-back became a regular under Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace and made more than 100 appearances for the Eagles.

Nigel Adkins brought him to the Premier League in 2012 and Clyne went from strength to strength, earning an England cap in 2014 as a reward for his excellent displays.

A move to Liverpool in 2015 soon followed and Clyne initially excelled under Jurgen Klopp before an injury last season saw him lose his place to Trent Alexander-Arnold.

SOLD TO: Liverpool (£12.5million, July 2015)

CENTRE BACK: Toby Aldeweireld

Alderweireld was statistically superb at Southampton

Technically speaking, Alderweireld was only ever on loan at St Mary’s. However, his exceptional performances saw Tottenham swoop in ahead of the Saints when Atletico Madrid cancelled the £6.8million buy-out clause.

His time in Spain can be summed up by his Champions League final performance in 2014. With Atletico leading city rivals Real 1-0 with seven minutes to go, the defender was sent on by Diego Simeone. They lost 4-1 and he was allowed to leave on loan in the summer.

While this will come as a surprise to some fans, it proved to be the Premier League’s gain as the Belgium international dominated Premier League strikers by maintaining an incredibly high tackle success rate.

Now considered one of the best defenders in the division, the 30-year-old moved to Spurs and instantly was selected for the PFA Team of the Year.

SOLD TO: Tottenham Hotspur (£11.5million, July 2015)

CENTRE BACK: Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk is arguably the best centre-half in the world

The world’s most expensive defender and captain of the Netherlands, Van Dijk’s rise has been nothing short of spectacular.

A 2015 summer signing from Celtic, van Dijk wasted no time in convincing Saints supporters they had found a worthy replacement for the recently departed Alderweireld.

Blessed with tremendous physical and technical attributes, the centre-half bludgeoned opposition strikers and then had the composure to spray 70-yard passes out with either foot.

Naturally, the biggest clubs in the world came calling, and it was Liverpool who splashed the cash to bring the colossus to Anfield. Since then, he has transformed the Reds from potential Champions League qualifiers to genuine title challengers.

SOLD TO: Liverpool (£75million, January 2018)

LEFT BACK: Luke Shaw

Shaw’s rampaging runs at St Mary’s became a trademark

Once the most coveted teenager in the world, Shaw moved to Manchester United despite interest from Chelsea to become the most expensive teenager in world football.

A Blues fan when growing up, Shaw trained with the club’s development programme at the age of eight.

However, he was not granted an academy place and joined the Saints. By the age of 15, he was playing for the Under-18 side before making his senior debut at the age of 16 in 2012.

Under the guidance of Adkins and then Mauricio Pochettino, the left-back earned a spot in the 2013/14 PFA Team of the Year and his lucrative move soon followed.

SOLD TO: Manchester United (£33.75million, June 2014)

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER: Victor Wanyama

Wanyama was another signing from Celtic

After a successful youth career in his native Kenya, Wanyama earned a move to Belgium before Celtic snapped him up in 2011.

He became the first Kenyan to ever score in the Champions League when he netted against Barcelona in 2012, a memorable game as the Bhoys managed to win 2-1 despite having 16 per cent possession.

A move to the Premier League followed in 2013 and the 27-year-old’s sheer size and physical prowess made him a near indomitable figure at the heart of the Saints’ midfield.

Although injuries limited his time on the pitch in his first season, his performances across the next two under Ronald Koeman were so well-received it became nigh-on impossible for the club to keep him. Former boss Pochettino brought him to north London, where injuries have again limited his game time.

SOLD TO: Tottenham Hotspur (£13million, June 2016)

CENTRE MIDFIELD: Adam Lallana

Technically gifted, the Englishman dazzled with his silky skills at Southampton

A legend at St Mary’s, Lallana played through League One and the Championship before becoming captain in the Premier League.

The midfielder initially learned his trade at south coast rivals Bournemouth before joining the Southampton Academy aged 12 at a cost of £18,000 in compensation.

His performances in the third and then second tier of English football caught the eye as he danced his way through challenges and continued to score and assist for fun as the Saints claimed the Championship title in 2012.

His two seasons in the Premier League while a Southampton player were equally fruitful, joining Shaw in the PFA Team of the Year in 2013/14 before Liverpool acted quickly to beat Manchester United to his signature.

SOLD TO: Liverpool (£25million, June 2014)

CENTRE MIDFIELD: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain vies for possession with John O’Shea

A Southampton youth graduate from the age of seven, Oxlade-Chamberlain excited fans with his direct running and pace on the wings at St Mary’s.

At just 16, he made his senior debut against Huddersfield Town. In the 2010/11 season, he marked his first start with his first senior goal and the hype began to gather pace.

His father, former England international Mark, told reporters he was keen for his son to join Arsenal after dominating League One defenders and the winger made the switch to the Emirates in 2011 for a reported £15million.

His debut came in the infamous 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford and, since then, his short career has been littered with highs and lows. Injuries and loss of form saw him slip in and out of the team before making the move to Liverpool in the summer of 2017 for £35million.

SOLD TO: Arsenal (£15million, August 2011)

LEFT WING: Theo Walcott

Walcott was destined for great things from his teenage years

Shortly after leaving school, Walcott joined up with Southampton’s first team during pre-season training before the start of the 2005/06 season and never looked back.

Blessed with terrifying pace, the winger became the Saints’ youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and 143 days and remained in the first team after scoring against Millwall and Stoke City.

Arsenal confirmed they had agreed a deal with the teenager in the January of 2006, with the fee potentially rising from £5million to £12million based on incentives and add-ons. In the summer, he was shock inclusion for England’s 2006 World Cup squad.

Although his early promise has since faded, the 30-year-old is still a Premier League player with Everton.

SOLD TO: Arsenal (£12million, January 2006)

RIGHT-WING: Gareth Bale

Bale is considered one of the best in the world

At 16, Bale made his Southampton bow in the Championship and earned a reputation as a set-piece specialist for his incredible accuracy from dead-ball situations.

Credited as one of the most creative players in his first season, the Wales international soon garnered attention from Premier League clubs.

Bale moved to Tottenham in 2007, but the move initially did not work out. The youngster did not win a game he started until January 2010 when he replaced Benoit Assou-Ekoto.

A change in position gave Bale a new lease of life and after plundering 31 league goals in the 2012/13 season, he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee and has continued to dazzle supporters across the globe with his exciting style of play.

SOLD TO: Tottenham Hotspur (£10million, May 2007)

STRIKER: Sadio Mane

The Senegal striker is one of the most in-form players in Europe

Starting his career at the Académie Génération Foot in his native Senegal, Mane moved quickly from Metz to Red Bull Salzburg after his glittering performances in Europe.

His time in Austria was marred by a sour point at the end when he refused to come on during a game as he tried to force a transfer away.

Before the summer window in 2014 shut, Koeman splashed the cash to bring the forward to St Mary’s and was rewarded with pace, trickery and goals. He scored the fastest ever Premier League hat-trick at 2 minutes 56 seconds in a 6–1 win over Aston Villa in May 2016.

The 26-year-old continued to score throughout the 2015/16 season, netting in wins against Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool and it was the Reds who spent big to lure him away from the south coast.

SOLD TO: Liverpool (£34million, June 2016)

A side capable of dominating Europe

TOTAL SQUAD COST: £242.65 Million

See how Southampton get on against title chasing Liverpool on Friday, live on talkSPORT at 20:00 on 5 April.

Tottenham Hotspur transfer gossip: Five potential Hugo Lloris replacements after Liverpool blunder costs Spurs

1 Apr

Hugo Lloris was once seen as one of the most trust-worthy and consistent goalkeepers in the Premier League.

After arriving from Lyon in 2012, the France international became renowned for his excellent shot-stopping and ability to command his box.

However, his form this term has been erratic, to say the least.

Hugo Lloris has been below par this season

After lifting the World Cup trophy in Russia, the 32-year-old was arrested for drink-driving a month later and his form on the pitch began to dip.

His most recent mistake came against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, as he palmed Mohamed Salah’s weak header against the legs of Toby Alderweireld to cost Spurs the chance of an invaluable point.

A bizarre performance against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League saw Spurs play with 10-men after Lloris made a ridiculous challenge on Hirving Lozano.

There have also been mistakes against Barcelona, Cardiff City and even in the World Cup Final itself in what has been an erratic 12 months for the keeper.

The World Cup winner saw red for this rash tackle on Hirving Lozano

While it would easy to suggest pulling the trigger, Lloris has not yet reached the Heurelho Gomes standard of goalkeeping.

But there is no harm considering potential replacements for a player who appears to be letting his standards slip.

So just who could Spurs bring in? Scroll down to see five potential transfer targets to replace Hugo Lloris with.

Thomas Strakosha – Lazio

The Lazio shot-stopper was linked with Liverpool last summer

Tottenham could potentially land the Albanian international on a free transfer as his contract runs out this summer.

Lazio reportedly told Liverpool it would require a bid in excess of £35million to prise their star man away from Italy in the summer.

Strakosha is certainly more confident with the ball at his feet than Lloris and is a more than capable shot-stopper too.

Timo Horn – FC Cologne

Another former Liverpool target, Horn is ready to make the step up

A Cologne fan, Horn’s loyalty to his boyhood club is admirable in today’s market. But the young German needs to start thinking about his career prospects.

At 25, there is no immediate rush to make a lucrative move. But the shot-stopper has all the attributes to make it in the Premier League.

Standing at 6″4 and with a huge reach, Horn presents a greater physical presence than Lloris. Although his distribution still needs work, time is certainly on his side in this situation.

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Emil Audero – Sampdoria

Audero has one of the highest save percentages in Europe

Having recently been compared to Italian legend Gianluca Pagliuca, it’s will be no surprise if top clubs begin sniffing around the 21-year-old talent. He has one of the highest save percentages in Europe, competing with the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Liverpool star Alisson.

Sampdoria do have an option to buy the player at the end of the loan, but could be persuaded to flip the player if offered serious cash.

Tottenham are definitely keeping an eye on the Italian side having also been linked with defender Joachim Andersen

Nick Pope – Burnley

The return of Tom Heaton has limited Pope’s game time

After a fantastic breakout season at Turf Moor last campaign, Pope ensured 2018 was a year he would never forget after earning a call-up to England’s World Cup squad.

But the former Charlton Athletic star soon had his world turned upside down when he suffered a dislocated shoulder injury and was ruled out until December.

With Tom Heaton starring between the sticks for the Clarets, the 26-year-old may decide to pursue pastures new when the transfer window opens.

Paulo Gazzaniga – Tottenham Hotspur

Entrusting Gazzaniga could save Spurs millions in the transfer market

When called upon in cup competitions or in the absence of Lloris, Gazzaniga has been a fantastic deputy.

The Argentine made his Premier League bow at Southampton, before Mauricio Pochettino secured a reunion with his compatriot.

At the back end of last year, the 27-year-old made his international debut and will surely begin to demand regular game time.

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham: Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris should be dropped and replaced by Paulo Gazzaniga, says Jermaine Jenas

1 Apr

Hugo Lloris’ latest mistake cost Tottenham a point at Liverpool, and Jermaine Jenas says it’s now time for the goalkeeper to be dropped by Mauricio Pochettino.

Lloris, who captained France to World Cup success last summer, has allowed errors to become an all too frequent part of his game over the past couple of years.

There have been calls for Lloris to be dropped following another huge error

But few have been as gutting as the glovesman’s error against Liverpool, which gifted the Reds a vital win over Pochettino’s side.

Spurs had been by far the better team than Liverpool throughout the second half of Sunday’s encounter, and they really should have been leading only to see Moussa Sissoko waste a glorious chance.

Nonetheless, a draw would still have been a fine result at Anfield, but Lloris made a glaring mistake that moved Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table.

Mohamed Salah’s tame header was dealt with by Lloris, but the keeper failed to hold the ball and it slipped out of his hands – only to hit Toby Alderweireld and roll into the back of the net.

Alderweireld could do nothing to stop the ball bouncing off him and into the back of the net

Though Alderweireld has been credited with the own goal, conceding the injury-time strike is entirely on Lloris’ conscience.

And it’s now time for the France international to be taken out the team by Pochettino, with understudy Paulo Gazzaniga stepping up to replace him.

This is according to Jenas, who played for Spurs when Lloris first joined the club seven years ago.

“Lloris has been at Spurs since 2012, and he has been brilliant at times,” Jenas told BBC Sport. “We are talking about someone who won the World Cup with France last summer, who is skipper of his club and country.

“He should be at the peak of his powers right now but he actually looks more nervous now than he did when he arrived from Lyon seven years ago.

“When people talk about the best keepers in the world, his name always comes up – but I just don’t feel like his performances over the past couple of seasons for Spurs reflect that status, unfortunately.

“Lloris seems to have a reputation based on what he has done in the past that is bigger and better than his current level, and that is a difficult scenario for his manager to deal with.

“But I don’t think Pochettino will be afraid of dropping Lloris, and what might make it easier for him is having Paulo Gazzaniga as his back-up.

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“Gazzaniga has played a few games for Spurs this season – 10 in total in all competitions – and has been brilliant every time I’ve seen him. He is probably thinking ‘it is time for me to get my opportunity’ and I think he should do.

“As ruthless as it sounds, if I was Pochettino I would seriously be considering starting the Argentina international in Wednesday’s game against Crystal Palace.

“I know it is a huge occasion because it is Tottenham’s first game at their new stadium, and it is one Lloris will no doubt feel he should be a part of.

Lloris could miss out on playing the first match at Tottenham’s new stadium

“But Tottenham’s priority now is not about sentiment or any of their players’ personal feelings. All that matters is finishing in the top four, because getting Champions League football next season is so important for the club’s future.”

Gazzaniga has made 10 appearances for Spurs this season, including two in the Premier League last September while Lloris was unavailable.

The Argentina international joined the Lilywhites from Southampton in 2017, and was praised for his performances when temporarily promoted to the starting role earlier this term.

‘We need to be brave’ – Tottenham Hotspur fans think a big change could happen after the win over Chelsea

9 Jan

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is used to selection headaches but this one might be the biggest during his tenure so far.

Hugo Lloris might be a World Cup winner following his Russian excursion with France last summer but he now faces a real battle to retain his No.1 jersey with Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino may be forced into a tough decision by Paulo Gazzaniga.

Prior to this season, Paulo Gazzaniga was regarded as a basic No.3 goalkeeper, someone capable in case of emergencies – as he proved against Crystal Palace in 2017, keeping a clean sheet in a shaky 1-0 win at Wembley.

He looked a bag of nerves, despite going on to win the Man of the Match award for keeping the Eagles at bay.

Paulo Gazzaniga put on a fine display against Chelsea

Now, though, he’s usurped the at-points calamitous Michel Vorm into the No.2 slot and is running Lloris close after another fine display between the sticks.

Tottenham have now won all nine matches he’s started and he’s managed to keep clean sheets against Arsenal and Chelsea – allaying fears about how he would fair against top class opposition.

Paulo Gazzaniga's matches for Tottenham

  1. Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Crystal Palace
  2. Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
  3. Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Watford (won 4-2 on penalties)
  4. Huddersfield 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
  5. West Ham United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
  6. Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 PSV Eindhoven
  7. Arsenal 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
  8. Tranmere 0-7 Tottenham Hotspur
  9. Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Chelsea

Over the course of the matches he’s been able to display all the relevant attributes too, saving two penalties in the Carabao Cup against Watford, holding his nerve in a make-or-break Champions League tie with PSV Eindhoven, subduing world class strikers in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette and showing his ball-playing ability across all the matches.

Against Chelsea his poise, composure, and confidence shown as Spurs rolled the ball around their defence at Wembley attempting to lure his opponents with the help of Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez.

Hugo Lloris now has some serious pressure on his role at Spurs.

This ball-playing element has previously been an issue with Lloris, who lacks the calmness and the skill to perform this role.

The Frenchman proved it on the biggest stage of all thanks to his comical error against Croatia in the World Cup 2018 final and, after costly errors against PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona in the Champions League, his displays are certainly under scrutiny.

He will remain No.1 in the Premier League while Gazzaniga gets cup contests to showcase his abilities and supporters, like the ones below, will continue to ponder the future of the goalkeeping position in north London.

‘He’s finally gone too far’ – Tottenham Hotspur fans react as Erik Lamela shaves Paulo Gazzaniga’s hair after Barcelona result

12 Dec

Tottenham Hotspur players and fans had plenty of reason to celebrate last night and it appears they did – but one player might have gone too far.

After qualifying for the Champions League last 16 thanks to a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Nou Camp, Erik Lamela picked up a pair of clippers in the changing rooms to shave No.2 goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga’s hair and then posted it on his Instagram page.

Lamela, a River Plate fan, posted a video on an Instagram story with the words ‘paying bets’

The Argentine shot-stopper has won a lot of fans over this season with some excellent displays while Hugo Lloris was out injured, and has also got hearts racing thanks to his smouldering good looks.

And seeing Lamela chop off his locks has left some fans in ‘shock’.

Gazzaniga posed with Lucas Moura and Eric Dier and other members of staff

The haircut appears to have been part of a bet about the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors and Gazzaniga later posed with other players and staff, who are either bald or have shaved heads, including Lucas Moura and Eric Dier.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: ‘Paulo Gazzaniga was man of the match against Brighton’

23 Sep

Mauricio Pochettino was thrilled with the performance of third-choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga during Tottenham’s 2-1 victory at Brighton.

In the absence of Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm through injury, the resolute nature of Spurs’ display was helped by the assured Gazzaniga, who was making just his second start for the club.

Gazzaniga was assured

“For me Paulo Gazzaniga was man of the match, he was fantastic, fantastic because the energy that translates to the team and I think his personality, his character,” his compatriot said.

“That is so difficult to play that way, and the condition of the pitch, the weather, windy, it was raining, I think for me he was man of the match.

“Maybe he didn’t make an unbelievable save, but I don’t know who was man of the match, but for me he deserved to be and I said well done to him on the pitch at the end, because the energy and feeling he translated to the team was very calm and relaxed.

“That is the message he sent. That is why I am so happy with him.”

Conditions were tricky

Pochettino was left purring after his Tottenham side passed a stern examination of their set-piece defending at Brighton.

Spurs’ shoddy play when defending dead-balls had been a large contributing factor to their three successive defeats, with four of the six goals they conceded in losses to Watford, Liverpool and Inter Milan coming in that fashion.

But they stood firm in shocking conditions on the south coast to earn a 2-1 win, coming through goals from Harry Kane and Erik Lamela, even if they did have to endure some nervy moments in their own penalty area.

Spurs ended three consecutive defeats

“We played against Brighton who for me in the past few weeks are the best team in set-pieces,” Pochettino said. “They are so strong and they work so hard in that aspect.

“I think in the few days previous we worked less but we worked a lot on the video, rather than on the pitch. That showed that it’s all about mentality, be aggressive.

“I think the team were fantastic in the way they defended. Football is organisation. It’s translating the philosophy that you want, it’s mentality, it’s fight, it’s to be available always to give your best.

“The spirit was fantastic and that is what pleased me the most.”