Tottenham’s centre-back problem – two from four, but which two?


The one position that Spurs are not talking about strengthening at this current moment is the centre of defence. I know that, as Spurs’ fans, not being linked with anyone in that role is a shock, but for once we were decisive in that department (through signing Jan) and now have a great bunch of defenders to choose from. But which ones should we play?

Younes Kaboul:
He is perhaps the safest choice, as he played the most last season, but I am not saying safe is a bad thing. He imposed himself extremely well on our opposition last season and his presence and speed is a real positive, particularly with AVB’s infamous high defensive line. He also provides a small threat attackingly – and any goals are most welcome at WHL – so that has got to count in his favour. He has become a real fan favourite in the last two years at the Lane and so definitely ought to be in there – possibly even as captain.

Jan Vertonghen:
A somewhat unknown package to Tottenham fans living in the UK. He was obviously the highest-rated defender in the Eredivisie and probably the best Belgian defender around – but does that guarantee that he will be good enough for us? He is obviously quick and great at winning headers in the box, but sometimes foreigners can take a notoriously long time to settle in this league and so cup games and the occasional home  game might be best for Jan, at least up until Christmas. We’ll just have to see how he goes.

Michael Dawson:
One of the best defenders in England a couple of years ago, but since then he has been riddled with injury and so fitness and form might be a problem for Daws. Chances are he has lost a yard of pace through being out of action for so long as well – so he might not fit into AVB’s high line structure. The fans love him, but who knows how good he will be this season? Despite being our player for so long, after his lengthy injury he is almost like a new signing, and we will just have to wait and see how he gets on.

Steven Caulker:
Steven is clearly a huge prospect for the future but the question is, is he ready to play for a top-4 club? How different is success at the Swans from success at the Lane? I would love AVB to play him a lot because, from what I saw of him last season, he is a massive talent with bags of potential. In a way, he is actually quite a safe option – think about it, he has EPL experience and is bound to work his socks off for the club. He has shown he can last out a 38-game season, and what’s the point of having youngsters if you’re not going to play them? He is commanding in the penalty area and can only improve with time.

In my opinion, the starting two centre backs for the EPL should be Younes and Caulker, with Jan and Daws reserved for Europa League and cup matches. If Jan performs on that stage, by all means put him in for Caulker, but please, AVB, give Caulker some game time – along with Livermore and Kane, he could become a Spurs stalwart in years to come.

And who do the fans think should be our first two centre-backs for Premier League and cup?

By Alex Beck

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  1. To start the season it has to be Kaboul & Vertonghen for me, I don't think it's much of a problem, for once we have 4 great center halves. It's up front where we have the problem, one recognised forward when we need four, at least two class strikers needed. pull your finger out Mr Levy.

  2. There is no doubt in my mind that Kaboul will be no.1 – probably as captain, and Vertonghen will be alongside him. I know it was only Watford but when Vert. came on he looked completely in control, and will adapt to the premier league quickly. Daws and Caulker give us nice strength in depth.

  3. caulker aint ready yet. vertonghen will the first defender on team sheet. fantastic defender exactly what we have needed for many years. kabs and vertgs with dawson, gallas back up. caulker needs another season on loan to gain more prem experience.

  4. I'm thinking quite the opposite here, I would go with Dawson and Vertonghen, since they are the best two central defenders in the squad.

  5. Kaboul was immense last season. Him and Vert seem like an ideal pairing, both good with the ball, powerful and fast, so that should be first choice imo. I hope Caulker gets plenty of game time in the epl. Daws I fear will have to work hard to break into that mix. Healthy competition though. 4 CBs is the right number, and Kaboul and Vertonghen may be needed for cover at RB and LB respectively.

  6. Kaboul first name on the team sheet is a no brainer. I'd like to see Vert as well with some game time for Caulker. And Gallas as a back up. Sorry but Dawson… love his commitment and effort but he was to slow before his injuries and gets constanty caught out of position. I am afraid (for his sake!) we have moved on from mid table players like Daws and he will find it difficult to get time on the feld.

  7. Vertonghen will start alongside Kaboul… No chance we'd pay 12m or whatever it ended up being for Vertonghen and not play him.
    He is probably only the 3rd best Belgian defender in the Premier league at this stage behind Kompany & Vermaelan, but that is hardly relevant. He was player of the year in the Dutch league so his pedigree is pretty decent.

    I think your point about Dawson's pace and AVB's "high line" could be relevant. Dawson has always struck me as similar player to Terry, who looked awful for Chelsea under AVB. Consequently, Caulker has a chance of displacing him over the course of the season as the lead 'back-up'.

    Ideally we should off-load Gallas from the wage bill – it was always short-sighted to offer him a new two year deal this time last year when we had Caulker coming through – but if we can't we may as well use him and send Caulker on loan again

  8. I am not 100% behind vert yet as I think it will need a bit of time for him to get used to the premiership so the awnser to the question defo gota b dawson and kab Dawson can sit back kab can push forward as he does Dawson pass understanding he is the full package needs to be done lets sort shit out c’mon lads levy sign us some fire power please

  9. I can't believe I'm hearing Kaboul as skipper…..get off it. Vertonghen is by far our best defender and first picked every week. If pre-season is anything to go by Kaboul has been our worst. I think AVB will start will Vertonghen and Dawson once he is fully fit.

    By the way, Vertonghen is Belgium's 3rd best defender behind Kompany and Vermalen and often has to play as LB in their international side.

    • I think Kaboul is very underrated by a lot of these commenters and Jan is overrated. what if Jan takes a while to settle? Kaboul is commanding and has proven himself to be a great player for Spurs. He should therefore be captain – who else would you have as captain?

  10. I love Dawson and he has been great for us. But let's me honest he's not champions league quality. He has a heart of gold which is great for derby games. But his distribution is horrible. Way to many long diagonal balls which don't cut it now days. You never saw sir king do it. The new signing looks very comfortable on the ball which is a sign of class that Dawson doesn't have.

  11. Four descent centre backs and Gallas and Bassong are still there too, I'd like to get rid Gallas, maybe bring Owen in as back up upfront, He'll probably play the same amount of games for similar wages but it's a position we badly need cover,

  12. Alex, Telling Vertongen is probably the best Belgian defender and saying that maybe he isnt good enough for the Spurs is that a joke, first of all every one knows that Kompany is the best and second of all why Spurs buy the best player from the Eredivision if the board is thinking like you, please Spurs look for someone else for your columns.


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