Tottenham Hotspur look set to finally make some strides in the transfer market this summer and they are keen on signing Marseille’s right-back, Hiroki Sakai, Sky Sports report.
The 29-year-old defender is supposedly Mauricio Pochettino’s preferred profile for the position in the wake of Kieran Trippier’s continued uncertainty regarding his future at the club. Serge Aurier doesn’t seem to be nailed on for a place at Tottenham next season either.
But at this point in Tottenham’s ascendancy, the Argentine manager should be aiming for only the very best. Here are three reasons why Tottenham Hotspur can do much better than Sakai…
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when reading these reports – why would Spurs even go for the Japanese defender when he would not really represent an upgrade on Trippier? A simple glance at his statistical achievements last season in Ligue 1 attests to that – Sakai recorded four assists and scored one goal. It’s comparable to the Englishman’s own tally but from a much worse top flight.
The other problem here is that he is one year older than Trippier. He boasts a lot of experience having been to two World Cups and appeared 56 times for Japan so far. But it doesn’t really fit the Spurs ethos of buying younger talents, preferably under 23 as Sky Sports understand, and then letting Pochettino do his magic and groom them into superstars. Sakai would be a step in the wrong direction – a stopgap rather than a forward movement.
Should Spurs sell Kieran Trippier? Check out the for and against in the video below…
Spurs have always been close to the top but could rarely actually reach it, and their rather scarce trophy cabinet is probably the best proof for that, but with their big strides in the latest iteration of the Champions League, the tides just might be shifting for them. For that reason, Tottenham should finally leave the Sakais behind them and start poaching targets that are more fitting of their renewed pedigree. We’re not insinuating they can suddenly attract all the superstars of the world but if they want to tango with the best, they have to act like they are one of them in the first place.