When Daniel Levy secured Matt Doherty for what seemed like a £15m bargain in the summer, he probably thought he was onto a winner. Heck, even we did at one stage earlier this season, as you can read here.
The Tottenham Hotspur star is now facing a fight for his future if reports are to be believed, so he’s been anything but that and is now on the verge of becoming one of the chairman’s biggest failures.
An exit after just one season would certainly put him among the likes of Noe Pamarot, Calum Davenport and Grzegorz Rasiak, three truly forgettable signings in N17.
At least former duds such as Vincent Janssen and Roberto Soldado fulfilled their purpose – that being a back-up role to Harry Kane.
According to ESPN reporter James Olley last month, Jose Mourinho could be willing to put the 29-year-old up for sale this summer unless his form drastically improves in the coming months.
Football Insider believe that Wolves would be open to re-signing the Ireland international, but only at a cut-price.
Things have gone from bad to worse for Doherty in recent weeks, too. After being berated by Mourinho throughout their defeat to Liverpool, the Spurs boss finally had enough at the weekend, as he axed him from his Premier League matchday squad entirely for the trip to Aston Villa.
Young academy starlets Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine made the bench, whilst Japhet Tanganga started over him at right-back. Not only did this add insult to injury but was surely a telling sign of what’s to come, given the aforementioned speculation.
Currently valued at €30m (£26m) by CIES Football Observatory, Doherty has been limited to only 12 league starts and that includes some shocking performances – he was dropped after that Liverpool scolding, and that came just a few matches after an utterly needless red against Leeds United.
In those two games, the 6 foot 1 wing-back failed to record a WhoScored rating above 5.87.
That disappointing level of performance was repeated in the North London derby (6.56), where the “very poor” dynamo lost possession the second-most times in the Spurs XI, and that was seemingly enough for Mourinho to drop him entirely for their win on Sunday.
Alasdair Gold at football.london claimed Doherty “had a nightmare” as he got completely torn apart by Kieran Tierney, whilst The Athletic’s Tifo podcast pundit Seb Stafford-Bloor believes the defender has “got progressively worse” as the season has gone on.
The “weak link” is fast becoming one of the worst signings of the modern Levy era, especially if Mourinho moves him on ahead of next season. Only a vast turnaround in form will stop that from happening now.