Tottenham might be in the market for a central defender in the summer with Jan Vertonghen expected to leave the club when his contract runs out at the end of the season (Daily Mail).

Spurs have been linked with several centre-halves including Kalidou Koulibaly (Il Mattino) and Nathan Ake (Football Insider), but the Evening Standard have now analyzed the club’s transfer activity over the last few years to deduce their most likely targets.

The publication looked at Spurs’ 45 previous signings and ranked them as either successful or unsuccessful purchases before analysing the patterns with respect to the purchases.

The average age of Tottenham’s last 45 signings was found to be just 23, while 20 of Tottenham’s last 39 signings (excluding the ones purchased in the last two windows) were deemed ‘successful’.

It was deduced that 30 per cent of Spurs’ signings having come through Belgian or Dutch academies while 36 per cent of their ‘unsuccessful’ purchases graduated from either Spanish or French academies.

Along with the aforementioned data, Vertonghen’s main attributes (ability to bring the ball out of defence, areal prowess, and left-sided) were also considered.

Using the intuitive algorithms of professional scouting system Smarterscout, four potential targets were identified.

The report identifies West Ham United’s Issa Diop, Sheffield United’s Jack O’Connell, VfL Wolfsburg’s Marin Pongracic, and Real Sociedad’s Diego Llorente as four ideal replacements for Vertonghen.

While all four players have slightly different profiles, all of them share the Belgian international’s main attributes and it is hence suggested that Spurs could go in for these players in the summer.

Spurs Web Opinion

With data analysis becoming an increasingly important part of scouting and recruitment, there is no doubt that clubs do analyze targets closely before moving for them. However, individual player statistics can be hugely misleading because different teams have different ways of playing and there are major stylistic differences between various leagues. If we are to let Vertonghen leave, I would prefer for us to replace him with someone like Ake who has an abundance of Premier League experience.

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