It’s not even reached the halfway stage of the January transfer window and Tottenham continue to be in limbo over a deal for Pedro Porro.
Reportedly Tottenham’s number one target, the hierarchy at Spurs continue to debate paying the release fee of the Sporting wing-back, so let’s look at three alternatives Spurs could target.
Denzel Dumfries – Inter Milan – 26 years old.
Conte is known for favouring players he feels are ready now rather than younger. Dumfries had an exceptional World Cup for the Netherlands and showcased his strengths on the biggest stage.
Much like Porro, a quick look at FBRef and Dumfries seems to fit the bill in Conte’s system nicely. However, the deeper you look the more you wonder how much of a positive impact Dumfries would make.
Tottenham’s wing-backs often act more like wingers, with an emphasis on crossing, Perisic has been a success down the left and so far, has 101 attempted crosses to his name. Dumfries, having played 10 more total minutes than Perisic, has just 38.
Dumfries also doesn’t make for good reading in the passing department, scoring extremely lowly in passes completed with 37.78 per 90. For comparison, Perisic completes 50.15 per 90. Where Dumfries does excel is in the opposition box. Averaging 4.49 touches in the attacking area per 90 and 4.45 progressive passes received per 90, Dumfries has the ability to be cause a problem in the opposition area, something the right hand side has struggled with.
Overall Dumfries seems like he would add some chaos down the right for Tottenham at the very least. But with a Transfermarkt value of 28 million Euros and Inter likely demanding way more than that were they interested in selling; you have to wonder if it would work out for Spurs should they put up the money.
Ridle Baku – Wolfsburg – 24 years old.
Baku is an interesting one, who often operates as a winger for Wolfsburg. There’s a good argument to suggest Baku would convert well to the wing-back role.
Having an impressive 1.62 blocks per 90 and 2.11 tackles per 90, Baku has no problems defending when called upon. He also impresses in progressive passes with 4.36 per 90. Baku also has an eye for goal, scoring 3 so far this season with just 1.3xG.
On the negative side, Baku’s touches in the attacking opposition are significantly lower, at just 1.34 touches per 90. As mentioned earlier Dumfries has 4.49 per 90 and Tottenham’s Doherty comes in with 3.30 per 90. All these are of course subject to the system and there’s no reason to suggest that if Baku were to come in those touches wouldn’t rise under Conte.
One concern Conte will have is the size of Baku, at just 5 foot 9 he’s perhaps on the smaller side of what the Spurs manager tends to go for. While statistically Baku doesn’t have any glaring issues aerially it’s sure to still be a problem for Conte.
Malo Gusto – Lyon – 19 years old.
The youngest of the pick and perhaps would be a more Tottenham signing than Conte, which given how Spence has gone so far makes Gusto the least likely of the three.
But at such a young age Gusto has made an impressive start to his career in France. What standouts most when looking in the statistics is his passing. 74.44 attempts per 90 with an 83.6% completion rate. Gusto’s use of the ball is impressive with 4.26 passes into the final third per 90. In comparison to the others Gusto crosses more often too, with 81 crosses so far this season, higher than Dumfries (38) and Baku (35). Porro himself only has 87 so far this season.
Gusto isn’t the penalty box threat perhaps Tottenham and Antonio Conte would be looking for. With just 0.2 xG this season and just 1.37 touches in the opposition area. Of course, this can all be worked out, especially under Conte who is known for his intensity at training.
There is lots to like on both sides of the ball with Gusto, 1.44 interceptions per 90 puts him towards the top percentiles on fbref. Offensively he averages 1.08 dribbles per 90 and 2.71 progressive pass receptions per 90.
As mentioned, Gusto may just be to much of a project like Spence and would like struggle to break into the side, but his inclusion feels justified as he seems a brilliant young talent.
Right-wing-back is a tricky market currently, whether one of the three mentioned or Porro is brought in, one thing is for certain. It’s an area Tottenham cannot afford to wait to fix.
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