Tottenham Hotspur have splashed the cash in the hunt to find viable replacements for Kyle Walker and then Kieran Trippier, but perhaps the answer was right under their nose all along.
He just needed a little nurturing.
Since 2017, the north London outfit have spent £23m on Serge Aurier and now £15m on Matt Doherty – a total nearing £40m is a pretty hefty investment and only goes to show how desperately they have missed the aforementioned England duo.
Two years prior to Walker’s mega-money move to Manchester City, former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino sold Ryan Fredericks, then aged 22, to Bristol City for around £175,000, the same fee Fulham paid for him less than a month later.
He made just four senior appearances for the club and enjoyed loan spells in the Championship with Millwall and Middlesbrough between 2010 and 2015.
Fredericks has since gone onto become a mainstay for local rivals West Ham United in the Premier League, where he has racked up a total of 45 appearances, per Transfermarkt.
His value now stands at £3.6m having hit a career-high £6.3m just a year ago, so it certainly seems like his exit from N17 was a little premature.
The 28-year-old isn’t as classy as a Sergio Reguilon or a Doherty, but he has proven to be a steady operator in the top-flight and prior to injury, looked to have been one of David Moyes’ best defenders.
Per WhoScored, Fredericks has averaged three key passes, 2.7 clearances, 1.7 interceptions and one tackle per game this season.
This puts him above Doherty, who has only managed 0.7 key passes and 2.3 clearances each appearance. They are both the same age, yet one was sold for £175k and the other cost £15m.
Fredericks’ recent form has led to temporary Hammers boss Alan Irvine praising him as “outstanding” and “fantastic”.
You can’t help but feel that if Pochettino brought him through gradually, then Spurs could have saved themselves millions, not just during the summer transfer window but many more, as he could have stepped up to fill the boots of Walker or Trippier – eventually.
AND in other news, Bruno Fernandes: Spurs truly missed out on a perfect Eriksen successor