As was evident during the recent win over Arsenal, Tottenham’s squad is ridiculously strong. While the expensive signings of Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko are still to wholly convince, their strength in depth in key areas of the squad is one of the main reasons Mauricio Pochettino has been able to challenge for the Premier League title for the past two seasons.
This season more than ever, following the tactical shift on these shores that has seen variations of a 3-4-3 formation become so popular, we’ve been hearing just how important full-backs are. In Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, Spurs boast perhaps the strongest pair in the league, so recent suggestions the former could leave this summer would be a major worry to most teams in England.
Over the last few years, Walker has established himself as England’s No.1 right-back, which is no mean feat. For all of the problems plaguing the Three Lions, England’s options in those particular berths are rather strong indeed. As previously discussed in detail in another article, the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Kieran Trippier and even Adam Smith offer much in the way of dynamism from that area.
If Manchester City’s reported interest in bringing the former Sheffield United man to the Etihad as Pep Guardiola plots the second wave of his revolution is true, it’s easy to see why. The Spaniard, who relied so heavily on the excellent Dani Alves while in charge of Barcelona, has had to make do with the ageing Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta all season, in a position on the pitch so important to the way in which his teams usually operate.
That’s not to directly compare Walker with the aforementioned Alves, of course, but the role he’d likely be handed at City is similar. Indeed, England is one of the only countries in Europe that still refers to players in that role as ‘full-backs’, with our continental brethren largely referring to the position as ‘laterals’, suggesting far more attacking enterprise.
So, Walker would stretch the pitch for City and offer much more in the way of a direct outlet to some of their possession play. Clearly, an athlete of such ability to bomb up and down the flanks like Walker would be a miss to any side.
Still, herein lies the beauty of Tottenham’s squad. Kieran Trippier, while not as searingly quick, is a more than capable replacement for Pochettino should Walker leave. The former Burnley man – ironically released by City – has had to wait for his chance, though proved particularly impressive in the north London derby.
We keep hearing about how the redevelopment of White Hart Lane will impact Tottenham, much as it did Arsenal during their stadium move, and how Spurs may be forced into selling one of their prized assets.
The likes of Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld have all been touted as potential summer exits as Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino attempt to balance the books while remaining competitive at the summit of English football.
Well, if anyone is to leave, Tottenham are very well suited to allow Walker to go. With elite full-backs coming at such a premium these days, as well as the one English players come at, any fee a Premier League rival would have to pay for him is likely to be approaching a world-record one for a player in that position.
In Trippier, as well as the emerging Kyle Walker-Peters (a dynamic full-back of immense potential earning rave reviews in the youth ranks), Tottenham can afford to sell. Crucially, they have all the power in any negotiation and Levy certainly drives a hard bargain.
Whether or not top brass on Hotspur Way had planned the signing of Trippier back in the summer of 2015 in anticipation of the current situation is up for debate. Perhaps that’s lavishing too much praise on the transfer gurus at White Hart Lane, though the signing of a man who is thought to have cost them just £3.5m could allow Spurs to cash in on a deal potentially worth £50m this summer.
Selling Walker would benefit Tottenham off the pitch. However, unlike previous big sales from the club, they’re well prepared to deal with his exit without losing too much in the way of quality.