Tottenham Hotspur could count themselves lucky to go home with a point this past weekend when they faced champions Manchester City.
Spurs were missing quite a few senior players, including Serge Aurier, with reports suggesting that the Ivorian right-back could leave Spurs before the end of the summer transfer window.
According to the latest reports, the Ivorian could be moving to Italian giants AC Milan on loan in the next two weeks. Spurs are willing to allow the former Paris Saint-Germain right-back to leave despite losing another right-back, Kieran Trippier, earlier in the transfer window.
The 26-year-old moved to Spurs from PSG for around £23 million in 2017, but he hasn’t been able to nail down a place in the side’s starting XI, and it looks as though manager Mauricio Pochettino is willing to let him leave even though they have one other right-back in Kyle Walker-Peters.
The Ivory Coast international, who has played 55 times for his country, has made 41 appearances in two seasons for Spurs, scoring 4 goals and totalling two assists within that period.
A calculated risk?
The decision to sell Trippier, who moved to Atletico Madrid in the 2019 summer transfer window, was a surprising one, considering Spurs did not have too many quality right-backs. Now, the apparent decision to let another first-team right-back in Aurier leave is quite baffling.
22-year-old right-back Kyle Walker-Peters is an exciting talent, and could be a good player in the future, but is not ready yet to be Spurs’ first-choice right-back despite impressing over the weekend against City.
The possible departure of Aurier means that versatile centre-back Juan Foyth could be the back-up option at right-back, while there are reports suggesting that England international Eric Dier has also been training to play in the right-back position over the summer.
To put things into perspective, Juan Foyth is currently out injured and fielding Eric Dier at right-back wouldn’t look like an assuring move for a team with aspirations to be challengers.
Also, neither of them are natural right-backs and are stop-gap solutions to a serious problem at Spurs. If Spurs want to compete in the Champions League, domestic cups and even potentially challenge Manchester City for the Premier League, they need to keep hold of their good players, while adding more quality to the squad.
That all but means Pochettino is fully ready to take the big risk with Kyle Walker-Peters. It may feel rather “unwise” to leave a young player with no real competition which could ultimately see the player take the role with a lackadaisical attitude – after all he’s not under real threat from anyone.