The Kyle Walker saga has finally ended, with the fullback sealing his record £50 million deal to Manchester City. Walker was an integral part of Mauricio Pochettino’s side, with his pace and agility being a real asset to Spurs’ style of building up play from the back. It goes without saying, that Spurs losing Walker this summer is a huge loss, but it’s hard to disagree with Levy deciding to sell him, given the heavy fee City were willing to pay. That money can then can be used to boost options further forward.
The last few months of the season saw Kieran Trippier display some good performances and even assert himself as Poch’s no. 1 Right Back. His attacking prowess, specially his final ball has been the real difference maker, helping him notch the same number of assists (5) as his fellow Right back partner, having played only 1/5th of Walker’s minutes.
But the problem has been his defensive ability, his lack of pace that puts him in trouble. As was seen in the last game at White Hart Lane, as soon as Martial swapped his flanks, he started causing havoc, beating Trippier with ease and helping United get a goal back. His performance in the Champions League has nowhere been near great, having played in just the 3 games, all Away. This somewhat hints that Poch knows the need of Walker’s pace at Wembley, an attribute that Trippier doesn’t possess.
And yes, Trippier couldn’t complete even 1 successful dribble in the PL last season.
So, who can be the player Spurs look for, to replace Walker. Here is a statistical comparison of a few players who have been linked.
Djibril Sidibe (Age 24)
He has had a great season, much like the whole Monaco team and has been a constant feature in the back pages over a move to Spurs. His stats from last season has been one of the best for a Right Back in the European Leagues, having made 3.48 tackles & 3.45 interceptions per 90 minutes.
But there are a few tweets I would like you to see before making up your mind.
He has had his problems while defending, though like, Walker he has the pace to cover up but he has been dribbled past more than once every game. Almost double of Walker’s number and slightly more than Trippier’s.
He may well have impressed you in yesterday’s game(France vs England) though, even scored a goal!
Pros – Has the pace & the dribbling ability (1.37 Successful Dribbles per 90) to make Wembley his home. Standing 6 feet tall, can be handy in the Aerial Duels (an attribute which Trippier lacks).
Cons – Defensive ability, easily gets dribbled past. Gets dispossessed easily
Ricardo Pereira (Age 23)
He has had a brilliant season at Nice and is One of the most recent features in the newspapers. With a recent report from Telegraph even reporting that Spurs have opened talks with Porto, his parent club.
As the tweets above, suggest, his passing ability has been one of the best for his position, having 87.2% pass completion rate. His passing rate in no way, shows that he looks to play safe as he had an impressive 1.32 key passes per 90, last season. Just like his passing percentage, his tackles per 90 is also the highest amongst any player in this list (4.35). The 16-17 season he has had with Nice, has been better for him in terms of attacking as well, when compared to the 15-16 season, almost doubling up his chance creation.
He has a €25m release clause, and if Spurs do strike a deal, it would be a really good piece of business, considering he has been on of the best Full Backs in Ligue 1 for a second season running.
Pros – Can be the closest replacement/upgrade to Walker. Has the age on his side as well.
Cons – At 5’9, his height can be a slight disadvantage for the Aerial Duels.
Interestingly, in his 15-16 Campaign with Nice, he won around 2 Aerial Duels per game.
Adam Smith (Age 26)
The ex-Spurs academy product has enjoyed a good season with Bouremouth scoring one and assisting 5 goals in the Premier League. Though he has had some good numbers but unlike others in this list, he won’t bring in anything special into the team. His bad first touch is something to work on as well, 1.7 bad controls per game is nowhere near decent. He could be an option if Poch thinks that the reinforcements in attacking areas are more important.
Pros – Economical buy.
Cons – Bad first touch & lack of pace.
PSV’s 25 year-old Santiago Arias has also been linked with a move. Apart from Pochettino wanting to re-unite Dier and Arias, who together had a short spell at Sporting, his numbers don’t really show any reason why Spurs should be looking to sign him.
Likewise PSG’s Serge Aurier certainly won’t be a Spurs player due to his continued Attitude problems.
Southampton’s Cedric Soares has always impressed me with his performances. A hard-working full back with a good cross completion rate of 1.6 crosses per 90. He has been one of the consistent performers for an ever-changing Southampton back-line.
Having already released Cuco Martina and Martin Caceres, the problem though, could be Southampton’s willingness to sell. But in Cedric, Spurs can get a Premier League ready player.
The Optimistic Choice
And at last, we arrive to the World Cup Winning, Pokemon version of Kyle Walker.
Walker Peters who was deployed as a Left Back in England’s U20 WC winning campaign, would certainly have made Poch think over giving him some first team minutes, next season.
Being played at his less favored position didn’t stop him from pushing forward and he did more than just a decent job for The Three Lions.
An exciting prospect, indeed.
The perfect Right back for Pochettino’s system is one of the hardest to find but at the same time it’s a position which won’t come under limelight if there is a void. Keeping Walker would undoubtedly have beeen the best scenario for Spurs, but with an offer of around £50m , there is really no harm in cashing in.
According to the current situation, Ricardo Pereira looks the likeliest arrival and his numbers do back his signing.