Tottenham Hotspur chief scout Steve Hitchen was a busy man this week, keeping tabs on Championship outfit Norwich City and whilst he was there to watch impressive loan midfielder Oliver Skipp in action, he was also taking a closer look at one of his teammates…
According to the Sunday Mirror (24/1, page 71), Spurs are keeping tabs on Canaries right-back Max Aarons ahead of a potential bid for the 21-year-old.
They claim that the former Premier League outfit value him at around £20m.
It’s also thought that Hitchen was in attendance for their win over Bristol City in midweek, something that has also been confirmed by football.london’s chief football writer Lee Wilmot.
After signing Matt Doherty in a £15m deal from Wolves in the summer, a new right-back doesn’t seem like a wise move, but the Irishman has been underwhelming to the point of being usurped by Serge Aurier in the starting XI.
Indeed, the 29-year-old has started just eight league games this term and has failed to hit the same heights in north London – in the Midlands last term, he contributed towards seven goals, but in Mourinho’s system, he’s only managed to assist one goal, per WhoScored.
That is largely in part to him being asked to do a different role. Under Nuno Santo, he was a wing-back in a five-man defence, but the Spurs boss mainly deploys a flat back-four, meaning he has to do his defensive duties too, which he has done, seeing improvements in his tackling, clearances and interception numbers, via WhoScored.
But as we outlined here, his sending off against Leeds United summed up his lacklustre time in N17 thus far.
It seems as if the north London club are yet to truly replace Kyle Walker, who left for Man City in the summer of 2017. The fact that Mourinho has chopped and changed between Doherty and Aurier all season would certainly suggest he has doubts over both.
Therefore, the scouting of Aarons is a wise decision as he could well be the long-term option in the role, thus solving this ongoing headache.
The England U21 international has continued to impress in the Championship this term. Despite being a right-back, he’s managed to provide 1.4 key passes and 1.2 dribbles per game, via WhoScored, and is only one of two Canaries players to start every single game this term (the other being Skipp).
Those figures suggest he’s the sort to bomb on up the wing, whilst 1.6 clearances and one interception per game, also suggests he’s equally adept defensively.
Also, The Coaches Voice’s analysis of the emerging star is equally positive. They wrote: “Aarons enjoys the physical contact of a one-on-one battle and tries to use his upper-body strength to manipulate his opponent’s position and shake them off the ball. He engages his opponent at pace and looks to force them off balance to draw an error.”
Doherty has doubts at the back, whilst Aurier is a little suspect on the whole, so Aarons could well be the solution.
Last month, Norwich boss Daniel Farke dubbed the 5 foot 10 dynamo a “special player” with an “unbelievable future” whilst Three Lions U21 coach Aidy Boothroyd claimed: “He gives 100% in training and matches, in all the games I’ve seen him at Norwich he’s been outstanding and had a real energy and go about him.”
For just £20m, Levy must end the ongoing nightmare at right-back with a swoop for Aarons – not to mention that it would aid that homegrown quota too.
AND in other news, Spurs can FINALLY axe Moussa Sissoko by signing “remarkable” beast for £30m…