Tottenham Hotspur‘s right wing-back role has been the subject of contentious debate for much of Antonio Conte’s tenure so far.
The Italian head coach is currently entrusting Emerson Royal with the starting reins this campaign, though at one point last season, Matt Doherty looked to have emerged as a more viable candidate.
Truthfully, however, neither are up to scratch at Hotspur Way and that’s something that The Times have previously noted, claiming back in January this year that Conte was looking for an upgrade in the position.
Well, things haven’t changed and the Italian is still without that Achraf Hakimi-sort of talent on the right-hand side of his defence.
In September 2020, the Lecce-born manager handed the then 21-year-old his debut for Inter Milan, starring in a 4-3 win over Fiorentina at the San Siro and the rest would be history as he played a major part in the Italian giants winning their first Scudetto in over a decade.
Hakimi would go onto start 28 more matches as he finished the Serie A campaign as Conte’s fifth-best performer, as per WhoScored figures, behind the free-scoring exploits of both Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, among others.
The 23-year-old bagged six goals and provided eight assists from the right wing-back role, numbers that we are yet to see from either of Spurs’ current options – indeed, Emerson has provided just three goal contributions from 40 appearances, whilst Doherty is marginally better with six contributions in 23 games.
But with January still many months away, a solution may be hard to come by anytime soon, though the Spurs boss may want to turn to the academy, where he could look to unearth his next Hakimi.
Kallum Cesay would be an intriguing option.
The Newham-born 20-year-old represents Sierra Leone at international level, which is also in north-west Africa, where Hakimi hails from.
And despite not making his senior bow for the north Londoners, the young and versatile dynamo has scored twice for his country, both of which came during a win over the Congo.
Also capable of playing on the other flank and in midfield, Cesay continues to be a regular for Wayne Burnett’s U23s. Last season, he made 25 appearances across the Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy, whilst this term, he’s featured seven times already.
Tottenham’s official website notes of his ‘athleticism,’ whilst Lilywhites insider Jon Wenham once described the right-back as a “really promising prospect” who ” can be as good as he wants to be” to Football Insider.
He may still be very raw when it comes to the men’s game but under the tutelage of a manager like Conte, he could well be moulded into an ideal solution to that divisive right wing-back role over the next few years.
As such, the Italian could well unearth his next Hakimi in Cesay.