Tottenham vs Crvena Zvezda: Pochettino drops hint on future of defense
Tottenham Hotspur have long prided on having a great defense. Toby Alderwiereld and Jan Vertonghen have been an integral part of this defensive unit, handling the pressure of title challengers, top-four finishes and even the run to the finals of the UEFA Champions League last season.
Unfortunately for Tottenham, this defensive unit has aged together. Tottenham, who conceded just 0.58 goals per game in the 2015/16 season, have given away 22 goals in their 11 games this season in Champions League and Premier League combined.
Tottenham's issue at right-back is well known with Kieran Trippier leaving in the summer and the club failing to find a replacement. To add to this, Toby Alderwiereld is presently in the last year of his contract. Jan Vertonghen, who has been more open to staying at Tottenham, has also not signed a new contract in his last year. But it is still not clear if the club has offered him one since he is already 32 years old.
Danny Rose was left out of Tottenham's pre-season in Asia to find another club but he failed to find a suitor. Serge Aurier, who plays at right-back after Kieran Trippier moved to Atletico Madrid, has also been vocal about his desire to move on.
A defensive unit with so many players in doubt about their future at the club is tough. But Mauricio Pochettino may have solutions waiting. After all, he hasn't played an unchanged team in consecutive matches all season.
On match-day three of the Champions League, despite their tournament at stake, Pochettino dropped Toby Alderwiereld and Danny Rose. Apart from starting with a back four of Ben Davies, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier, Pochettino went on to replace Vertonghen with Juan Foyth in the second half.
Foyth, though a centre-back, was used in the right-back position a few times last season. His Argentina Coach Lionel Schaloni has also used him the same position. His introduction at centre-back might hint that Pochettino is looking to play Foyth and Davinson Sanchez at centre-back if Alderwiereld and Vertonghen do not sign a new contract.