Alasdair Gold has suggested that Tottenham’s decision on whether to sign a right wing-back in January will depend on what Antonio Conte wants to do with Djed Spence.
When Spurs snapped up Spence from Middlesbrough in the summer on the back of his breakthrough season on loan at Nottingham Forest, many hoped the 22-year-old would be the answer to the club’s issues at right wing-back.
However, the England Under-21 international has not started a single game during the first part of the campaign (Transfermarkt), with reports indicating that the youngster could be loaned out in January (The Times).
Emerson Royal has continued to be Conte’s first choice at right wing-back, partly owing to Matt Doherty’s fitness struggles at the start of the campaign, and there remain a lot of question marks regarding the Brazilian going forward.
90 min reported earlier this month that signing a right wing-back is a priority for the Spurs head coach in January, with the North London club allegedly willing to cash in on one of Emerson or Doherty.
Gold has now explained that Conte will not want to have Emerson and Doherty as his only two options for the role, and thus backed the Lilywhites to sign a right wing-back if Spence is loaded out.
When asked if the position will be addressed in January, the journalist said on a Q&A on Football.London: “It all depends on what Conte decides. Much rests on his Djed Spence decision.
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“He’s going to get to work with all three right wing-backs during this break and that will allow him and the coaches plenty of tactical training time with the 22-year-old.
“If Conte decides that Spence is still not going to get much game time in the second half of the season then it’s better for all parties if he gets a loan to a Premier League club to continue to develop.
“If that happens then Conte is left at square one with Emerson and Doherty as his right wing-backs, a situation that the club was looking to change in the summer. In that scenario, surely they would have to look at right wing-back options and move one of those two players on if possible.”
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If Conte and his coaching staff do not think Spence is ready to start, it would be pointless to keep him around at the club. It would be beneficial for his development to loan him out to a Premier League club in January.
If Spurs do decide to sign a right wing-back, I believe Emerson is more likely to be sold than Doherty as the Brazilian will probably generate more interest from across the continent.