Following their incredible UEFA Champions League (UCL) run in the 2018/2019 season, Tottenham Hotspur failed to impress in the following season. Not only did they crash out of the UCL round of 16, they also failed to finish in the top 4 of the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho was hired midway through to the season to replace Mauricio Pochettino, and under him, Spurs managed to regain some momentum and finish in a European spot.
While many things need to change for Tottenham to be title challengers again, one of the main positions identified as a weakness is the right-back position. Serge Aurier has been decent going forward, but has defended poorly throughout the season.
One player that Jose Mourinho and his team should consider for that spot is Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira. He has been one of the Foxes’ best players, and here’s why Tottenham should look to sign him.
While Jose Mourinho is infamous for deploying defensive formations and ‘parking the bus’ in high profile matches, his tactics get results. For his Tottenham side to successfully play that way, they need an organized and stable defense. Ricardo Pereira has been one of the finest defenders in the league over the last couple of seasons and the statistics can prove it.
Pereira made 4.3 tackles per game last season (the highest in the league) and he backed it up with 1.8 interceptions and 2.6 clearances per game. He outperformed Aurier in each of these metrics. Pereira also enforced 6.29 successful pressures per game at a success rate of 31.3 %. Compared to this, Aurier enforced 5.10 successful pressures with a 29.4 % success rate.
In general, it can be said that Pereira is an elite defender and would be a major upgrade on Aurier at Tottenham.
Attacking work rate
While Aurier has been poor defensively, he has been better going forward. The Ivorian scored once and assisted 5 times for Tottenham in the league this season, making 6 goal contributions. While Pereira only managed 2 assists, he scored 3 goals in the league.
Although Aurier made more goal contributions, xA metrics suggest that luck may have been involved. Aurier made 5 assists from an xA of 3.0, indicating that his teammates’ finishing was above average. On the other hand, Pereira got just 2 assists from an xA of 3.6, meaning he was unlucky not to have claimed more assists. While these statistics may not change the outcomes of previous matches, they tend to hold true over the long run.
Additionally, Pereira also made more Shot Creating Actions (SCA) and Goal Creating Actions (GCA) than Aurier despite having played fewer minutes.
In conclusion, Tottenham need a solid player to fortify their right-back spot, and Ricardo Pereira seems like the perfect man for the job. However, it is likely that a massive transfer fee will be needed to take away Leicester’s prized possession.Published 23 Aug 2020, 12:58 IST