Kieran Trippier was a perfectly average Premier League regular for Tottenham this season. That’s no longer good enough for Spurs.
Tottenham fans are braced for a busy summer of transfer activity, but it’s very likely the club’s first transaction will be a sale. Kieran Trippier appears to be on his way out the door and no Spurs fans should be concerned with his imminent departure.
The Independent is reporting that Napoli are “confident” of signing the English right back this summer for a fee of £25 million. That fee is less than Tottenham could have received for Trippier last summer, but still allows the club to profit massively over what they paid Burnley several seasons ago.
There’s a narrative circling among Tottenham fans on social media that claims Trippier was a bad Premier League player this season. That simply isn’t true. His Whoscored.com player rating average of 7.10 in 27 league appearances proves that he was, at the very least, an average starter for Pochettino.
Statistically speaking, he was significantly better than both of the other right backs who appear to be staying at Spurs for the moment. Serge Aurier endured an injury-shortened campaign, but even when he’s fit he’s an unreliable player for Tottenham. It won’t surprise anyone if he joins Trippier on his way out of the club this summer. Pochettino is not determined to sell him, but he’ll certainly be permitted to leave if a suitable bid comes in.
Kyle Walker-Peters still looks like an extremely talented young player for Spurs, but he’s been unable to get enough match time to really progress over the past two seasons. Tottenham must either give him significant match time next season or loan him out to a lower level Premier League club who are willing to promise him a consistent spot in their starting XI.
Given Trippier’s spot in the club’s pecking order, some might assume his sale is a mistake by Spurs. It’s not. The unfortunate truth is that Trippier really only helps Tottenham when they’re playing sub-par opposition.
Almost all of his strengths occur when he’s given time and space to pick out dangerous crosses from the right wing. In other words, he’s at his best when Spurs are able to dominate possession without being concerned about defending. That helps Tottenham see off inferior opponents, but it doesn’t help the club in their most important matches.
When Pochettino’s squad is really forced to defend for long stretches of time Trippier’s flaws get exposed very quickly. His lack of size or athleticism make him a player who is frequently targeted by savvy managers searching for the weak link in Tottenham’s back line. Manchester City and Liverpool both did everything they could to isolate him every time they faced Spurs this season.
None of this means Tottenham can afford to stand pat at the position. If/when Trippier is sold the club need to make purchasing a world-class right back one of their top transfer priorities. Bringing in an athletic player like Nelson Semedo would be ideal.
The bottom line is that selling Trippier will help Tottenham improve their roster this summer. He’s not a bad player, but he’s just not good enough for where Spurs want to go in the coming years.