Tottenham may already have a replacement for Toby Alderweireld

Japhet Tanganga isn’t as accomplished as some of his contemporaries at Tottenham, but he has the talent to be a quality Premier League defender. 

Troy Parrott wasn’t the only Tottenham starlet to make a striking impression in the club’s preseason friendly against Juventus on Sunday. Japhet Tanganga was just as good as the young Irishman, although his work came on the other end of the pitch for Spurs.

Unfortunately for the 20-year-old English starlet, there isn’t nearly as much room in Mauricio Pochettino’s senior squad at centre back as there is at striker. As such, Tanganga is almost certainly going to be forced to look elsewhere for first team football this season. That doesn’t mean his long-term future doesn’t lie with Tottenham though.

Instead, look for Spurs to loan Tanganga out to lesser Premier League squad or top Championship side. The idea for Pochettino and company should be to get him quality experience this season so he’ll be ready to play a meaningful role at Tottenham when the 2020/21 campaign begins.

Tanganga’s spot at Spurs this year likely will hinge on what happens with Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian veteran has a £25 million release clause that allows any club to purchase him before Thursday’s deadline. However, Alderweireld has recently made it clear (per the Daily Telegram) that he believes he’ll be a part of Pochettino’s squad this season. Even if he does stay put, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll stay at Tottenham for more than one additional season.

That’s why giving Tanganga the proper loan is going to be so important for Spurs. His play during his half of action against Juventus exceeded everyone’s expectations. In particular, his calm and poise on the ball was a very pleasant surprise. The young Englishman managed to keep Cristiano Ronaldo and company very quiet while also initiating play with pinpoint passes from the back. That’s quite a recipe for success under Pochettino.

In some ways he’s a bit unlucky that Spurs have so much talent as his position. The aforementioned Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth all are well ahead of him in central defence. Even Eric Dier would likely be called upon as the team’s fifth centre back if they were required to go that far down on the depth chart.

Tanganga shouldn’t fret though, when Alderweireld departs there will be an opening in Pochettino’s first team. If he continues to put on displays like he did against the Old Lady then he will be the one to fill the void. He’s got a bright future ahead of him at Tottenham.