Tottenham must replace Ben Davies
Danny Rose is clearly Tottenham’s first choice left back of both the present and future. Unfortunately, the options behind him simply aren’t good enough for Spurs. Ben Davies is a liability that must be addressed this summer.
It’s not that Davies is a bad player. In fairness, I think he’s a pretty solid left-sided centre back. There’s a reason that clubs like Chelsea have sounded Tottenham out over his services in the past. When he’s playing in a back three, his limited pace and athleticism aren’t an issue.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the position where Mauricio Pochettino deploys the Welshman. At Tottenham, he’s hopelessly miscast as a left back. Rose’s recent injury absence has made Davies’ limitation too obvious to ignore.
Evaluating Davies from a statistical perspective is largely useless. His cautious style of play allows him to grade out well even when he’s having a poor match. If you want to properly evaluate Davies, you have to watch him play for the full 90 minutes.
When you watch him it becomes obvious that he’s just too conservative a player for Pochettino. Much of Tottenham’s attack out wide is predicated on the ability of their fullbacks to overlap with the wingers. Davies rarely has enough pace to execute that move. His lack of pace makes an incredible amount of pressure on Kyle Walker to provide width on the right. There’s a reason that Walker seems to play so much better when he’s paired with Davies. He simply doesn’t have any other choice.
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Now, I’m fully aware that some Spurs fans don’t think the club can acquire a superior backup. While I understand this line of thinking, I vehemently disagree. It’s not a matter of the club purchasing a better player in a vacuum. It’s a question of Pochettino going out and finding a player that is a better fit for the way he wants the club to play.
In my mind, that causes two names to immediately spring to mind. The first, and most preferable option, is Fulham starlet Ryan Sessegnon. Acquiring him won’t be cheap or easy, but it’s just the kind of signing that the club should be making on a regular basis. It might take him a while to adjust to Premier League competition, but he could turn into an amazing player over time.
The other option that leaps to mind is Jordan Lukaku. The younger brother of the Everton striker has struggled at Lazio this season, which means the Serie A club might be willing to sell him for a modest fee. He has just the sort of athleticism to thrive under Pochettino.
If Tottenham want to have true squad depth next season, they’ll need to move for a new left back this summer. Ben Davies is a decent centre back, but he lacks the pace required to play fullback for Spurs.