Jermaine Jenas on Man United’s signings, Tottenham’s targets and Jack Wilshere – exclusive interview
We caught up with former Tottenham midfielder and BT Sport pundit Jermaine Jenas last week to take a look ahead to the new Premier League season
We headed to the BT Sport studios in east London last week to catch up with former Tottenham and Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas.
We chatted to the 34-year-old about his former club Spurs, and also got his views on Manchester United and Manchester City’s summer spending.
Check out the full interview below.
It’s been a busy summer transfer window so far. Who do you think has done the best business and why?
It’s a weird one, because Manchester City have obviously done the most business but also the best in a funny way because they’ve highlighted the issues they’ve had over the last couple of seasons and rectified them by bringing in genuine quality. The likes of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo… I think they’re going to be a huge boost to Pep Guardiola and the way he wants them to play. He puts a lot of emphasis on his wider players. They’ve also rectified the goalkeeping situation.
A close second would be Manchester United. I think the signing of Matic is absolutely huge, I really do. I can’t believe Chelsea have let him go. The feeling around Chelsea is not only have they lost one of their most experienced and strong players, but they sold him to a rival. The balance that he gives Manchester United in that midfield – the strength, the height and his experience in the Premier League – between him and Romelu Lukaku, those are two of the best signings.
Your former side Tottenham have kept hold of their best players, that core that have done really well over the last couple of seasons. But is there a concern for Spurs fans that there hasn’t been a whole lot of transfer activity yet?
I think there’s a genuine concern, yes. But I think what would give them comfort is that their starting 11 is still one of the best in the Premier League. This is a team who have played together for a number of years now and know exactly how Mauricio Pochettino wants them to play. Yes, they’ve lost Kyle Walker. Kieran Trippier had come in and I think he’s going to need some support. I don’t think he’s ready to go the whole season and the Champions League campaign right at that top level of consistency just yet.
I expect them to strengthen in certain areas but I think the concern comes more from the fact that everyone’s going a bit wild and crazy, and Spurs are sat still and being calm. You’ve got to trust the manager. I think he’s earned that level of trust and he obviously knows what he’s got at his disposal in terms of the youth players. I think the fact that he’s backing that, is a testament to the man himself. Spurs fans will obviously be hoping that they’ll remain in the Champions League positions for next year.
There’s been a lot of talk about backing up Harry Kane and helping him out up top. Is there anyone who you think Spurs could sign to help him out?
I like Josh King, I really do. He had a really good spell at Bournemouth towards the end of last year. I think he’s a player they probably could get, especially now Jermaine Defoe has gone to Bournemouth. He [King] fits the bill perfectly.
Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world, he’s in that ilk now with Luis Suarez and so on. I think that having somebody to back him up like Josh King, who knows what it’s like to come off the bench because he does it at Bournemouth, and who has genuine quality… he would be a player who I personally would like to see go to Spurs.
There’s been a lot of talk about how Jordan Henderson needs a bit of help in the middle of the park at Liverpool now Lucas Leiva has gone. Is that an area Liverpool need to strengthen?
I was quite impressed with Georginio Wijnaldum last year. I thought he was really solid. There were a few games where they needed a player to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and I think he had a good season. I’m not sure that’s an area that they need to strengthen. They’ve got Emre Can in there, Henderson, Wijnaldum… There’s also talk of moving James Milner back into midfield. I think they’ve got enough in that midfield area.
Where the concern lies with Liverpool is goals. Have they got a guy who’s going to get them 20+ goals a season, which is something they’ve always had? Roberto Firmino is a top, top player, but I feel that he’s more of an attacking midfield player. So that would be an area I’d like to see them strengthen.
What about Arsenal? Do you think they need to bring in a new midfielder?
I can’t believe that Arsene Wenger has not identified that central midfield area. Yes, the market is strong but Tiemoue Bakayoko was up for grabs. Last season he was saying that they could have got N’Golo Kante. There have been players who have been available who he’s not managed to get hold of.
The big problem for Arsenal, is that if you go through their midfield, is that they have that kind of softness and they are injury-prone. I’m one to talk about injuries! But at the same time, this is a team who are striving to get back into the Champions League and Jack Wilshere has picked up injuries. For me, when he’s fit and at it, Wilshere is in the England team, it’s as simple as that. He’s a naturally gifted player. And then you’ve got Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey who can’t keep fit. To have not highlighted that area to strengthen it is a big mistake.
And finally, can you give us your predictions for the top four and the champions?
I think both Manchester clubs will be in the top four along with Chelsea. Then it’s almost a battle between Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs. I think Spurs will do it and end up in the top four. They’ll have enough and get used to Wembley. And I think Manchester City will win the league. Those are my predictions!
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