Will Kieran Trippier be 'right back' for Tottenham in 2019/20?
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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino might have a problem in defence if Kieran Trippier is allowed to leave this summer. The 28-year-old has been a regular at right-back all season, starting in Saturday’s Champions League final defeat to Liverpool, but there’s more talk of Trippier being sold than the players below him in the pecking order.
The England international’s exit would leave Spurs with Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters to choose from next season, two players who have spent the last nine months on the periphery of the first-team. Why is Pochettino considering this move? Unless a new face is brought in, Tottenham would be weakening their side for the sake of getting more spending money.
Criticising Trippier disingenuous
Tripper has openly admitted being below-par for a lot of the season, but his poor form is not the reason why he’d be sold before Aurier and Walker-Peters. The 28-year-old was first-choice in 2018/19 when fit, making 38 appearances in all competitions, 36 as a starter. Trippier missed only 19 minutes of Champions League football after the last-16 stage.
Pochettino clearly trusted him more than Aurier and Walker-Peters and their respective statistics may reveal why. Walker-Peters’ first Premier League appearance of the season came against Leicester City on December 8, 2018. He went on to make five further appearances and racked up only 374 minutes of playing time.
The 22-year-old featured once in the Champions League and once in the EFL Cup this, spending the majority of his time on the bench or out of the matchday squad. Aurier made only two league appearances between August and mid-November, logging 135 minutes of Premier League football in 2019. It makes little sense for Tottenham to keep the out-of-favour duo and sell their first-choice right-back.
Trippier’s departure would put a lot of pressure on Tottenham to sign an impressive replacement, but there’s not been much progress made in recent weeks. The Londoners were linked with Max Aarons of Norwich City and Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Crystal Palace. The latter is strongly linked with Manchester United, who had already kicked the tyres on Trippier. Norwich may want to keep Aarons for their first season back in the Premier League.
Tottenham need to strengthen several positions this summer after sitting out the last transfer window. Not that Daniel Levy makes a habit of it, but the club can't afford to overpay for any player. As a result, Pochettino has a decision to make on what to do with his right-backs, sell, keep or loan out.
Aurier has been linked with a move to AS Monaco. Walker-Peters might be granted a loan exit if he’s not given playing time. The sensible option for Pochettino might be to keep Trippier, make Aurier available for sale and use Walker-Peters as a backup. Aurier has failed to hold down a starting place since joining from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. He set the Londoners back £30.3m (£23m transfer fee + £7.28m in wages) and has some resale value which can be reinvested.
Walker-Peters signed a new deal just six months ago and has been second-choice at right-back in 2019. It makes economic sense to back the £20k-per-week full-back over Aurier but what Pochettino ultimately does with his squad may depend on what player Tottenham can attract as a replacement.