Since the sale of Kyle Walker to Manchester City in 2017, Spurs have failed to find a suitable replacement.
Serge Aurier was brought in by Spurs to replace the England international. However, the former PSG player struggled to impress in his three-year tenure in North London despite improved performances under Jose Mourinho.
Even though Aurier was not completely loved among supporters, he experienced his best season in a Spurs shirt, making 49 appearances in which he netted three goals and got seven assists.
But the 27-year-old is now looking to leave North London. With AC Milan said to be keen on signing Aurier this summer.
With Aurier and Walker-Peters set to leave, Spurs have no recognised right-back and will definitely look to strengthen in that area this transfer window. So, I decided to look at the rumoured targets to replace Aurier and how they compare to Ivory Coast international.
One for the future
A man who will be in-demand throughout this summer and definitely on Spurs’ shortlist for the right-back position.
The England U21 international failed to prevent Norwich City from relegation last campaign, although Aarons enjoyed a season full of mixed performances.
Aarons wouldn’t be Spurs’ first-choice right-back due to his age (20) and the mistakes made in his time at the Canaries. However, 20-year-old has an abundance of potential and continues to improve in his older years.
Comparing to his season in the Premier League with Aurier, both players struggled defensively but excelled offensively. Aarons completed 1.3 dribbles per game, compared to Aurier with 1.2. But the Spurs player managed more crosses (0.6) with Aarons only completing 0.4 crosses per game.
Aurier’s defensive stats per game: 2.7 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.4 clearances. (WhoScored)
Aaron’s defensive stats per game: 1.3 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 2 clearances. (WhoScored)
People should remember that Aarons was part of a defence who shipped 75 goals, so his stats won’t be eye-catching. As I said, Aarons won’t be Spurs’ main right-back but could develop into an outstanding talent.
For around £15m, Spurs would be insane to pass on this transfer.
Zeki Celik and Timothy Castange – two main contenders for right-back
With Aarons a signing for the future, Mourinho will want a right-back to compete against outstanding professionals.
Two names that have popped up recently is Zeik Celik, as mentioned by The Telegraph, and Timothy Castange, according to Daily Mail. Both players are in Spurs’ price range at around £15m, marginally improving on Aurier.
Mourinho is known to prefer a full-back who is fairly tall and larger, similar to Ben Davies, and Atalanta’s Castange definitely matches that description by standing at 6ft 1in.
However, both players are two different styles of players, with Celik better defensively compared to Castagne, who is better offensively. So, how do the two players correlate against each other?
Zeki Celik stats per game: 2.2 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 2 clearances, 1.4 dribbled past, 0.9 key passes, 0.7 dribbles and 0.5 crosses. (WhoScored)
Timothy Castagnee stats per game: 1.1 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 0.6 clearances, 0.7 dribbled past, 0.9 key passes, 0.5 dribbles and 0.6 crosses. (WhoScored)
Whilst neither has stats to catch the eye, you can clearly see which areas are stronger between the two. If Spurs were to bring in Aarons, who is more suited offensively, then Mourinho would want to balance the squad with a more defensive-minded full-back.
Who is Mourinho’s ideal player?
Castagne is currently part of Gian Perio Gisprani’s fearful attacking side in which have scored 98 goals last campaign – most across the whole of Europe. And the Belgium international was an influential part of Atalanta’s free-flowing attack in the RWB position. Providing attacking opportunities throughout the game. Due to his menace of getting forward, Castange does get caught high up the pitch, leaving acres of space behind him.
The 24-year-old is better suited in a side with plenty of possession throughout the game. And what we have seen from Mourinho’s Spurs, defensive stability looks a priority instead of keeping possession.
And that’s where Celik links build. The Turkish international likes to get forward and Lille’s style of play allows Celik in an offensive position. But Celik also is very athletic allowing him to attack and defend and pressing defensively high-up the pitch.
Neither would be a massive improvement on Aurier but suit the style of play Mourinho prefers in his full-back position. If Spurs were not to sign Aarons, then I fully expect Mourinho to go for Castange. Due to one-year left on his contract and worth around £10m.
However, with Mourinho’s links at Lille, Zeki Celik is the right-back I expect Spurs to sign and feature regularly next season, and worth just £15m.
Spurs are close to signing Southampton’s Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg. Read our report on why the Danish international is an obvious signing for Spurs.