Here we go again then.
For those who have not read the other articles in this series, the premise is simple: we take a team (a theoretical current Spurs XI in this case) and go through it player by player, picking out an interesting/pleasing/unexpected former team-mate of each individual.
The purpose, other than whittling away a few minutes of social distancing time, is to demonstrate the vast network that connects football together in countless ways.
HUGO LLORIS & MIRALEM PJANIC
It stands to the reason France’s captain learned his trade in his homeland.
And for Hugo Lloris those formative years were spent at Nice where his most notable team-mate for Premier League loyalists was former Man United forward David Bellion.
However, it was at Lyon where Les Bleus’ keeper grew his reputation.
He missed the club’s glory years as he signed in the season that was the first in which Lyon failed to win the Ligue 1 title in seven years.
Lloris shared a dressing room with Karim Benzema and Juninho Pernambucano in his first season at Lyon but he was more associated with the crop of players that included Dejan Lovren and Miralem Pjanic.
He overlapped with Alexandre Lacazette too, though we suspect both Spurs and Arsenal fans would rather that be forgotten.
SERGE AURIER & RAPHAEL VARANE
Unfortunately for Spurs fans, Raphael Varane’s composed serenity didn’t rub off on Serge Aurier during the season they were team-mates at Lens in 2010/11.
24 appearances for the Ligue 1 side was all Real Madrid needed to see of the talented teenager before they opened their chequebook.
Aurier hung around half a season longer after Lens were relegated to Ligue 2, before joining Toulouse in January.
TOBY ALDERWEIRELD & RAUL JIMENEZ
Toby Alderweireld’s Ajax days provide plenty of ammunition for this article’s purpose but since half of Spurs’ defence used to play for the Dutch giants, we had a closer look at the Belgian’s Atletico Madrid career instead.
He played just 12 league games for Atleti in 2013/14 and scooped a league winners’ medal in the process.
With Diego Godin and co forming arguably Europe’s best defensive unit, Alderweireld found breaking into the starting line-up almost impossible, as did Raul Jimenez the following the season.
The Spurs centre-back and Wolves striker were only team-mates in the sense they were both employed by Atletico at the same time, they may have never shared a dressing room as Alderweireld was shipped out on loan to Southampton while the Mexican settled for substitute cameos.
Both would bloom into notable players on English shores.
DAVINSON SANCHEZ & FRENKIE DE JONG
We couldn’t find any particularly titillating team-mates from Davinson Sanchez’s early stages with Atletico Nacional so we had to raid the Colombian centre-back’s lone season with Ajax in 2016/17.
Most would have been able to put these two together without much delay but Sanchez’s breakout season came two years earlier than Frenkie de Jong’s, who only featured in four league games before the defender moved on.
Sanchez starred as the Eredivise club made it to the Europa League final, only to fall to Man United, whereas De Jong was one of the key figures in Ajax’s entertaining Champions League run in 2018/19.
Of course, where this match-up gets interesting is that it was Sanchez’s Spurs who beat De Jong’s Ajax in Amsterdam (Lucas Moura and all that) to end the young midfielder’s dream of a European trophy with a Dutch club.
JAN VERTONGHEN & JAAP STAM
We’re back in Ajax’s past again for this one.
Jan Vertonghen spent six years in the Dutch capital at the start of his professional career and can list many household names among his former team-mates as a result: Edgar Davids, Luis Suarez, Wesley Sneijder, etc.
However, we went with Jaap Stam because it feels like the two belong in separate eras.
And they do, the fearsome centre-back, who won the treble with Man United in 1999, returned to his homeland at the very end of his career to add experience to Ajax’s youthful talent factory, of which Vertonghen was a member.
These two defenders were team-mates in a ceremonial way, a passing of the torch.
MOUSSA SISSOKO & WISSAM BEN YEDDER
Before joining Newcastle in 2012, Moussa Sissoko spent five and half years in Ligue 1 with Toulouse.
In that time, the energetic midfielder played alongside Andre-Pierre Gignac, Jeremy Mathieu and, our selected choice, Wissam Ben-Yedder.
The predatory forward was a consistent goalscorer for Toulouse and proved to be a useful asset for Sevilla before returning to France with Monaco this season.
Ben Yedder is level with Kylian Mbappe at the top of goalscoring charts in Ligue 1 as it stands.
He was reunited with Sissoko at international level in 2018.
ERIC DIER & MARCOS ROJO
Did you know Eric Dier and Shkodran Mustafi were on Everton’s books at the same time?
Unfortunately, since the former never played an official senior game for the Toffees, we weren’t able to match Spurs’ bruiser with Arsenal’s error-prone German on this occasion.
However, Dier’s unusual route to success as an Englishman from Sporting CP’s academy provides suitable alternatives.
We opted for Marcos Rojo because the Argentine’s time in Lisbon overlapped precisely with Dier’s two seasons with the first team, but we could have just as easily chosen Rui Patricio, who racked up 467 appearances for the Lisbon-based club.
DELE ALLI & ALAN SMITH
Dele Alli was still in nappies when Alan Smith was hailed as English football’s bright young upstart and Leeds United’s golden boy.
By the time Alli played his first full season in professional football with MK Dons, Smith was the experienced campaigner who had switched from striker to battling midfielder upon the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson.
With his best days behind him, the Yorkshireman dropped down to League One where he would have been exposed to Alli’s blossoming talent on a daily basis.
In 2015/16, the pair left and ventured in different directions as Smith joined Notts County in League Two while Alli established himself as the Premier League’s latest wonderkid.
SON HEUNG-MIN & RAFAEL VAN DER VAART
Two fan favourites among the North London fanbase.
Rafael van der Vaart played some of the best football of his career in a Spurs shirt but once he was done at White Hart Lane he headed back to Hamburg for a second spell at the German club.
He returned to Germany in 2012/13 and linked up with Son Heung-min for a season before the Korean was snapped up by Bayer Leverkusen.
Two impressive seasons later he mirrored Van der Vaart by signing for Spurs and becoming one of the team’s most dynamic attacking talents.
GIOVANI LO CELSO & DANI ALVES
It was Giovani Lo Celso’s excellent 2018/19 campaign with Real Betis that caught Spurs’ eye and while his year in La Liga was spent training alongside Joaquin, William Carvalho, Javi Garcia and Marc Bartra, how could we not choose a player from PSG’s host of overpaid superstars?
Parisian scouts identified the potential in the technical midfielder when he was at Rosario and brought him to the French capital in 2016.
Lo Celso featured extensively for PSG in the 2017/18 season, playing 48 games alongside the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and, our arbitrary player of choice, Dani Alves.
PSG may already be regretting their decision to let him go.
HARRY KANE & MICHAEL KEANE
There’s a well-circulated photo of Harry Kane sat alongside Jamie Vardy on Leicester’s bench from the 2012/13 season.
It seems absurd to contemporary fans that Nigel Pearson would not employ two of the finest English strikers of the last decade in his quest to earn the Foxes promotion from the Championship.
The wolf-slaying gaffer preferred a striker partnership of David Nugent and Chris Wood instead.
Anyway, Kane wasn’t the only loanee at the King Power that season, Man United sent Jesse Lingard and Michael Keane to the Midlands to get some miles in their boots.
J Lingz only spent a month at Leicester but it didn’t coincide with Kane’s temporary residence so we had to pair the prolific striker with Keane, who had his loan extended to the end of the season.