This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Mauricio Pochettino reportedly rejected the chance to swap Christian Eriksen for Paulo Dybala this summer.
According to The Daily Mail, the Spurs boss was hopeful that Eriksen would extend his contract in north London, and thus chose him over the Juventus superstar.
The boss is now worried that Eriksen will leave for free in 2020 though, with Juve and Barcelona the front-runners.
Dybala was the subject of much speculation towards the end of the transfer window, but the report claims Pochettino refused to enter negotiations with the Turin outfit over a swap deal.
While it may seem a big mistake to keep a player running down his contract and reject the chance to sign a 25 year-old often compared to Lionel Messi, there could be a very good method behind the boss’ madness.
Spurs have plenty of goals in the side. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura all know how to stick the ball in the back of the net.
We saw against Aston Villa and Manchester City that finishing chances is not Tottenham’s problem, creating them is. None of those players are creators, and neither is Dybala.
His playmaking numbers over the last three Serie A seasons are very revealing, as he averaged 1.9, 1.6 and 1.7 key passes per game, while managing just 0.9, 0.8 and 0.9 successful crosses per game.
Eriksen meanwhile has averaged 3.1, 2.6 and 2.1 key passes per game over the last three seasons, while also mustering 1.5, 1.4 and 0.9 crosses.
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The 27 year-old’s introduction against Villa upped the tempo and incisiveness of Pochettino’s side’s attacks, and as good as Dybala is, he simply can’t offer the kind of game-changing creativity the Dane is capable of.
Considering how blunt the attacks before Eriksen’s entrance against Villa were, Pochettino would be shooting himself in the foot by swapping his best creator for another goalscorer.
While in the long-term it may make more financial sense to do the swap deal, the club’s hopes of securing a trophy this season would suffer if they made the switch, as more and more performances like the one against Villa would end in drab draws.