Tottenham can’t rely on Eric Dier or Kevin Wimmer
Mauricio Pochettino is blessed with a terrific pair of starting centre backs at Tottenham. Neither Jan Vertonghen nor Toby Alderweireld is going anywhere this summer. Even so, Spurs need to be in the market for another quality centre back this summer.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t Pochettino have Kevin Wimmer and Eric Dier to choose from as well? Of course he does. The unfortunate reality is that neither man has played well enough this season to earn his manager’s trust.
That statement may seem harsh given the excellent season Eric Dier had in 2015-16. He was one of the first names on the Tottenham team sheet two seasons ago. This season has been a struggle for the English international though. His Whoscored.com player rating average of just 6.76 illustrates how mediocre he’s been on the campaign.
In fairness, some of Dier’s struggles could be attributed to his move back to the centre back position. Coming into the campaign most had him pencilled in as a starter in the defensive midfield. The combination of his struggles and injuries to centre backs have made him a member of Pochettino’s back four more often than not.
Wimmer’s year hasn’t been much better. The Austrian has been unable to follow-up his terrific play in relief of Vertonghen last year into a solid 2016-17. This season he’s been surpassed by Cameron Carter-Vickers in Pochettino’s pecking order at times. That shows just how far his star has fallen at White Hart Lane.
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It’s certainly possible that Dier or Wimmer may bounce back and become a reliable reserve next year. It’s just not something Pochettino can sit around and hope for. Instead, he must find another central defender in the summer transfer market.
If Pochettino were going to stick with a 4-2-3-1 formation full time it wouldn’t be a significant need. It’s his decision to utilize three at the back for long stretches of the season that makes a move necessary. The Spurs gaffer needs that measure of tactical flexibility next season.
That means that the club need three players who can serve as starters at centre back. Ideally, Spurs could purchase a young defender who could bridge the gap from Alderweireld/Vertonghen to Carter-Vickers.
Finding a third centre back won’t be Tottenham’s most pressing need of the summer, but it’s a need nonetheless. It’s a subtle squad addition that could pay big dividends for Pochettino next season.