Spurs could unleash 18 y/o "big talent" to fill Bentancur void
Tottenham Hotspur had been exceptional in the Premier League this season before recent losses against Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa halted the resurgence under Ange Postecoglou, but there is still plenty of reason to be optimistic.
It's important to remember that prior to the triad of defeats, where injuries and suspension shaped the narrative, Spurs were perched at the top of the table and looked as formidable as any outfit in the division.
With a new era still in its maiden stage and Postecoglou's charisma and vision hinting at a successful future, the recent setbacks must be taken with sanguine confidence that a return to form is on the horizon.
That being said, Spurs' squad is currently bordering on threadbare and Postecoglou, chairman Daniel Levy and the club's transfer team will have their work cut out in January, bolstering the ranks across different departments and ensuring that Champions League qualification remains attainable.
It's understood that strengthening the defence will take precedence, and while the midfield will also need attention, it might be the perfect opportunity for Spurs to make good use of their talented academy players, with Rio Kyerematen among the most talented that English football has to offer.
Kyerematen, aged 18, has posted 13 goals and 11 assists from just 55 appearances for Tottenham's various youth outfits, with his natural inclination for sniffing out direct offensive contributions certainly swaying the odds in his favour when Postecoglou looks to pluck the best talents from Wayne Burnett's development side.
The centre-midfielder has made ten appearances across all competitions this term and given his versatile skills in the engine room, could be the perfect youthful addition to fortify Tottenham's squad.
The "big talent" - as he has been called by Tottenham podcaster Chris Miller - might not be quite at the level to wedge his way into a fully-fit Spurs first-team, but given that Rodrigo Bentancur has suffered an agonising injury blow against Unai Emery's Villa, hands may well be forced.
Bentancur scored five goals and supplied two assists from 18 Premier League starts last season before disaster struck and he sustained an ACL injury in February during a 4-1 defeat against Leicester City.
The £75k-per-week midfield star only returned to action last month and managed to earn three substitute appearances before receiving a starting berth against Aston Villa, but Matty Cash's lunging challenge wrecked his afternoon and any chance of building form over the coming months.
The 56-cap international offers a rounded game and would have perfectly complemented Spurs' existing options, potentially proving to be the difference-maker over the forthcoming period.
He's even been described as a "Rolls-Royce" by football writer Tom Robinson, and after starting so brightly against the Lions on Sunday - completing 86% of his passes and winning all three ground duels in little over 30 minutes of action, as per Sofascore - his loss comes as a major blow for an already depleted outfit.
Were Bentancur to be the only unavailable star throughout the winter period, it's unlikely that Kyerematen's name would be considered, but circumstances spin a different narrative.
The African Cup of Nations is only one month away and will ensure that both Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr will be absent for January and potentially early February.
The duo had formed a cohesive bond over the opening months of the campaign and looked the real deal in the centre, working overtime to ensure that Postecoglou's vision was implemented on the pitch.
Rodrigo Bentancur: Similar PL Players
But with the pair set to be unavailable to compound the problem, Kyerematen may well get the nod, with James Maddison also out until the new year.
Profiling the midfielder last year, club insider superhotspur underscored the dynamism and talent that would set Kyerematen in good stead for a rise to prominence among the seniors in the near future.
He wrote: 'Always looking to make decisive forward passes, Rio is a very good passer of a football, and he has a good range of passing. In addition, he is also very reliable on the ball, is very good at dribbling with the ball and at turning with it, and he uses the ball really well.'
The observer also noted that he is 'tenacious and good at winning the ball in midfield, on the occasions that he has played in that position. A clinical finisher with the ball on the edge of the penalty area, Rio Kyerematen can strike a football really well, and it resulted in him finishing last season as the third highest top scorer for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2021/22.'
Bentancur is a bit of an all-action midfielder; he's ambitious and tenacious in striving for goals and assists, he is a sterling passer of the ball, and his technique mirrors the elegance and grace of a pirouetting dancer, putting not a foot wrong.
He's been hindered over the past year; detrimentally. The Uruguayan has been unable to build on his excellent start to life in London and now looks set to sit back on the sidelines until February, which is a hammer blow for Postecoglou's side ahead of the gruelling winter period.
Unleashing Kyerematen could also provide Postecoglou with an upgrade on Oliver Skipp, who is industrious and useful as a squad option but, now aged 23, has not started in the Premier League since the opening day against Brentford and is unlikely to secure a prominent role going forward.
Should Kyerematen find himself in contention for a first-team debut over the coming months, he may well be partnering Skipp on occasion, especially when the likes of Bissouma and Sarr deepening the woes during AFCON.
But such a promotion to the senior set-up could conjure a window from which this exciting teen talent could step through, announcing himself as one of English football's most talented prospects.