Selling Kyle Walker-Peters may be proving to be one of chairman Daniel Levy’s greatest mistakes at Tottenham Hotspur in recent years.
The Spurs supremo sanctioned his exit to Southampton as a part of a deal to send Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the other direction back in the summer of 2020.
He had enjoyed a six-month loan spell at St Mary’s prior to the move and then-manager Jose Mourinho was really keen to sign the Danish midfielder.
Hojbjerg was signed for £15m, whilst the Lilywhites raked in £12m for their former youth graduate, meaning there was only an outlay of £3m, per the BBC.
At the time it looked to be a stroke of genius from Levy, but that is really not looking to be the case now.
In midweek, the Saints enjoyed a stunning come-from-behind victory over Spurs and Walker-Peters provided the north Londoners with a timely reminder of what they’re missing out on.
The 24-year-old was tasked with keeping left wing-back Sergio Reguilon quiet, which is something he did to a tee, having managed two clearances, one tackle and three ground duels won, via SofaScore.
He has really stood out at Southampton, where he has emerged as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first-choice right-back.
Of all the players to have started 13 or more matches this season, Walker-Peters ranks sixth in his squad.
He has averaged 1.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per match, proving to be solid defensively, whilst also getting forward to contribute in the final third, where he has managed 1.5 dribbles and 0.9 key passes per game, via WhoScored.
The Saints head coach dubbed the right-back a “role model” who “knows what he has to do on the ball” and is a “complete” package. Meanwhile, club legend Jason Dodd likened him to Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“He’s a modern-day full-back like Trent Alexander-Arnold. He’s great going forward, he’s quick, defensively that I like, in one vs ones there’s probably not too many people getting by him,” he told Love Sport Radio.
Tottenham have long had a problem in the right-back role, dating back to the sale of Kyle Walker to Manchester City in July 2017. Soon after that, Kieran Trippier left for Atletico Madrid and it’s been an ongoing nightmare ever since.
Serge Aurier, Matt Doherty, Japhet Tanganga and now Emerson Royal have struggled to make their mark in the position.
It’s awfully telling that new manager Antonio Conte was reportedly desperate to sign a new right wing-back during the January transfer window, despite the Brazil international only joining in the summer.
That’s because he has little faith in the 23-year-old, who had a devastating role to play in all three of the Saints’ goals on Wednesday night.
His influence in the final third is poor, whilst defensively he has started to look a little suspect. A stark contrast to that of Walker-Peters, who has been a very reliable option down on the south coast over the last season or two.
As such, Levy’s biggest mistake in recent times may not have been the club-record signing of Tanguy Ndombele, who departed on loan last month, but rather his premature decision to offload a young player with bags of potential.
The £18m-rated dynamo is a much better option than anything Spurs have right now.