Opinion: Why signing a new centre-back should not be a priority for Spurs this year

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with several centre-halves over the past few weeks ahead of the summer transfer window.

With Jan Vertonghen (Football Insider) and Juan Foyth  (Calcio Mercato) both seemingly on their way out of North London, it is understandable that the club would want to bring in another central defender this summer.

However, do we really need one?

Even if Vertonghen and Foyth were both to leave, that would leave Spurs with Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga as four centre-back options, with Ben Davies also being capable of covering in case of an emergency.

Almost no top side in Europe has more than four central defenders plus an emergency fifth option. In fact, most teams have three plus a back-up.

I can almost hear a few of you screaming that our options are not good enough. Since very few fans are likely to have question marks over Sanchez and Alderweireld, let me address the other two.

Eric Dier is often unfairly criticized by fans for his weaknesses without getting the credit he deserves for the obvious strengths that he possesses.

The England international is a very good reader of the game and there are few players better than him at making interceptions. He is also a very good tackler and even his seemingly last-ditch challenges are usually immaculately timed.

The one criticism he gets most often is that he is not good enough on the ball. While this might be true when he plays in midfield, where he often struggles to turn on the ball with his back to goal, this is not something that he would be required to do at centre-back.

In fact, when he has the game ahead of him, as he generally would at centre-back, I would argue that he is better on the ball than the likes of Alderweireld and Sanchez.

While he does not quite have Toby’s immaculate pings in his locker, he still has a decent range of passing and is more than capable of switching play or finding forward runners with his long balls.

When it comes to Tanganga, he has a lot more to prove than Dier does as he has only played a handful of games for the first-team. Even in those matches, Mourinho has often opted to play him at full-back rather than centre-back.

However, I suspect Jose has only done that to give the 21-year-old better spatial and tactical awareness and that he will primarily be used as a centre-back next season.

Some might worry that we do not have a natural left-sided centre-back. However, I do not believe this will be a major issue as both Dier and Alderweireld have proven that they are comfortable playing on the left side.

So, given the options we have at centre-half, I believe it will be more productive for us to spend our limited transfer budget on areas that are much more of a priority like a right-back, defensive midfield, and a back up striker.

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  1. It is absolutely true that Spurs need urgently a new, dominant inside the box, CB.
    Someone who can make the difference in such an important position.

    I propose for that role Axel Disasi of Reims.
    A young player who wouldn’t cost much but he could make the difference.

    For those who don’t know the player, I propose them to have a look at Youtube or Google and I believe they will agree with me.

    He has all necessary skills to that purpose: effective tackling ability, he can move forward with pace once he has recovered the ball, he can pass the ball with accuracy, he is dominant inside his box, he wins most personal duels.


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