Tottenham Hotspur full-backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies haven’t been at their best this season, and Spurs should consider signing Ben Chilwell and Thomas Meunier to boost their chances of winning silverware.
Where they once used to have two of the most feared full-backs in the league in Kyle Walker and a fit, motivated Danny Rose, Tottenham’s wide defensive areas now look a shadow of what they used to be.
Back in the 2015/16 season, the aforementioned duo provided what was perhaps the most effective feature of Spurs’ play, bombing up and down the flanks whilst Eric Dier slotted into a back three alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
It was that season that Mauricio Pochettino’s side very nearly won the league, only to succumb to Leicester’s fairytale story towards the end of the season. Despite that, it was strikingly evident that the two were a key component of the team, something which has been highlighted in the pair’s absence from the first team.
Kyle Walker’s big-money move to Manchester City saw Kieran Tripper promoted to the starting XI, which at first appeared to be a welcome swap as the former Burnley right-back impressed consistently. On the left side of defence, Rose has since been dealing with a troublesome groin injury, a reoccurring issue that is hampering his form.
So, back to the present day. After a stunning World Cup with England, Trippier has been suspect defensively for Spurs this season, often targeted as a weak link by the opposition as a result of his physique making it hard to deal with rapid, strong wingers.
Rose has started just five league games, whereas Ben Davies has been unusually poor at both ends of the pitch this season.
If you look at most of the top clubs around Europe, they all have excellent options at full-back. Pep Guardiola has the aforementioned Walker and Benjamin Mendy at City. Bayern have David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich. Real Madrid have Dani Carvajal and Marcelo; the full-back positions are becoming one of the most significant features of modern football.
Now, it doesn’t seem as if Tottenham and Daniel Levy are keen on spending any money after the debts racked up by the new stadium, but if they are serious about challenging for trophies, they need new options at full-back.
Leicester’s Chilwell, a young Englishman along the same lines that Pochettino has worked wonders with in the past with Luke Shaw, appears to fit the mould perfectly. He is already an excellent player, who is yet to reach his ceiling and will most likely go on to become even better.
On the opposite side of the field, PSG’s Meunier should be of interest. The Belgian is one of the best in his position at bombing up and down the flank and grabbing a goal or an assist.
If Spurs allow their full-back positions to go stale, they could be playing catch up to all the big clubs for many years.