Emerson Royal continues to get exposed in Antonio Conte’s system at Tottenham Hotspur.
Recent injuries to Sergio Reguilon and Matt Doherty have meant a prolonged stint in the side for the struggling summer signing and Saturday evening’s 0-0 draw with Brentford was another telling reminder that he may be one of Fabio Paratici’s first transfer duds.
Having cost €30m (£26m) from Barcelona, the Brazil international was seen as Spurs’ long-term solution to their right-sided woes following the departure of Serge Aurier in the off-season.
However, he’s been anything but good for the Lilywhites.
“He’s struggling to cope with the pace and he’s not dealing at all well with the quality,” claimed former Premier League manager Alex McLeish to Football Insider just last month.
Meanwhile, this weekend, ex-Goal editor James Dickens claimed that Emerson’s presence in the starting XI was “mystifying” – and that was added to by BBC Sport contributor Premier League panel, who explained in greater detail why the 23-year-old is holding Spurs back.
“It’s incredible how many Spurs attacks break down with an Emerson Royal loose touch, pass or wrong decision. It’s a clear example of how one player can impact a team’s build-up significantly. The team ends up sinking to their most technically inferior player,” they tweeted.
Indeed, Emerson is quite the liability for Conte but he’s short on options with Doherty’s season now over – or is he?
The Lilywhites may well be firmly fighting for a top-four finish but there is surely no harm in unleashing an academy prospect if he’s going to be a better option going forward – you only have to look at Oliver Skipp.
Marcel Lavinier could provide the Italian with the perfect solution.
The 21-year-old gem has played 16 minutes for the senior side, being handed his professional debut by Jose Mourinho last season, and according to The Daily Mail, the wing-back ‘loves to get forward and is very direct.’
Chelsea’s former youngster has clearly already caught Conte’s eye as he was named on the bench for their Premier League clash with Brighton.
Having provided four assists in 18 Premier League 2 appearances for the U23 set up this campaign, Lavinier ability and technique on the ball, combined with his willingness to get forward as an attacking option surely makes him a better candidate than the struggling Emerson.
With only a handful of games remaining, it could pay serious dividends if Conte were to finally axe Emerson with the high-risk call to introduce the youngster into the starting lineup.