Opinion: Spurs must not Leng-let their defensive ambitions slide after Clement signing

0
Clement Lenglet
(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

When Fraser Forster completed his free transfer move from Southampton, it was universally expected that it would be the least exciting signing of the summer for Tottenham supporters.

Bringing in an understudy for Hugo Lloris was absolutely necessary, but it was never a move that was going to define the year-end performance reviews of the Spurs social media teams.

However, the lukewarm reception from supporters about the news that Clement Lenglet has signed on a year-long loan from Barcelona has made the reaction to Forster’s signing seem like Man Utd unveiling their latest big-money flop. Big Fraser would look great at a piano after all.

Let’s be honest, it is underwhelming. It is clear that Lenglet was well down Spurs’ list of targets and his recent form at Barcelona has been inconsistent, to put it kindly.

If the reaction of Everton fans to Spurs signing Richarlison helped convince you that he was going to be a fan favourite, you may want to avoid any reaction from Barcelona supporters about this move.

However, the move does have its logic and again shows the change in approach from Spurs this summer. Lenglet is a cultured defender and is a natural fit for Conte’s system.

He can cover the centre and left positions of a back three and will be less exposed than he has been in a Barcelona team suffering from an extended identity crisis.

Bringing him in early in the window is also a significant plus. Antonio Conte will have sufficient time to work on restoring Lenglet’s confidence and getting his fitness to a level that will be needed for a long Premier League season.

This is a move that Spurs would typically have waited for deadline day to complete, leaving them having to throw an under-prepared player into big matches with no time to acclimatise.

It is clear that Conte wants two players per position and tactically flexible players and this move will facilitate departures from Spurs.

Japhet Tanganga is on track to take Jesse Lingard’s position as oldest youngster in the Premier League and it is essential that he has a year of regular first-team football away from Spurs to see if he is able to compete for a first-team place.

Equally, Joe Rodon has never been consistently tested in the Premier League. It would be great to see both move on temporary deals to see if they have what it takes to take Lenglet’s place in the squad next season.

If Tanganga and Rodon do leave, as expected, this will leave the central defensive pool as Cristian Romero, Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, Ben Davies and Lenglet.

My GCSE maths teacher will be proud to see that I remember that 5 into 3 doesn’t go, so it is clear that Spurs need one more defender to supplement the squad considering the sheer volume of matches that will (hopefully) be played this season.

Lenglet provides some breathing space, but Spurs need to be decisive in their next move. Apart from Liverpool, all the other ‘Big 6’ teams are currently trying to sign defenders and Spurs need to ensure they are not left trawling through the leftovers.

It seems that moves for Alessandro Bastoni and Josko Gvaridol have been ruled out this summer (Football London) and, if this proves to be the case, Spurs must cast their net further.

There are still a number of central defenders that would greatly enhance this squad, including Gleison Bremer, Marc Guehi or even Nathan Collins of Burnley who impressed greatly in the second half of last season.

This summer has been a great success so far and Spurs have made some excellent additions. However, the positions that Spurs arguably needed to strengthen most (right wing-back and central defence) still require surgery and the earlier this is done, the better.

Conte is not a man to settle and it is imperative that Spurs continue to attack the market. The transfer window marathon has started well, but the next moves will define whether Lenglet is a shrewd squad addition or a move that stalled Spurs’ progress.

Have something to tell us about this article?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.