Tottenham are planning a tactical shift
Mauricio Pochettino has deployed a back three at times for Tottenham this season, and it’s clear he wants to maintain that option next season as well. The Spurs boss is eyeing a number of central defensive transfer targets in an effort strengthen his defensive corps.
The latest, and perhaps most realistic, of these transfer targets is Hull defender Harry Maguire. He may not have the pedigree of someone like Michael Keane, but he doesn’t have his price tag either. Reports from England claim Hull may be forced to sell him for less than £15 million if they suffer relegation.
That would represent excellent value for a proven Premier League defender like Maguire. He’s arguably been Hull’s best player on the season. His Whoscored.com player rating average of 7.10 in 26 Premier League appearances ranks him second on his current squad. Pochettino would be happy to bring him to Tottenham and see him replicate that form.
Maguire isn’t going to displace either Jan Vertonghen or Toby Alderweireld in the Spurs starting XI. Instead, he could start alongside both players in a back three. Pochettino has used that formation to great effect for Spurs during the second half of this season. Typically, Eric Dier has been used as the third starting centre back during those matches.
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Dier’s status for next season is certainly in question. Ideally, Pochettino would like to move him back to the defensive midfield role where he excelled one year ago. There’s also a significant school of thought that believe he could be a major transfer target for Manchester United this summer. Under either scenario, he wouldn’t be left to play centre back at Tottenham.
The pursuit of Maguire (and others) also shows that Pochettino has completely lost faith in Kevin Wimmer. The young Austrian has failed to force his way into his club’s plans this year. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him sold this summer. That sort of move could be best for both the club and the player.
At any rate, it’s clear from all of the interest in centre backs that Mauricio Pochettino is very interested in deploying a back three next season. He wants to preserve it as an option at the very least. In truth, it’s quite likely he’ll make it his default formation for the 2017-18 campaign.