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Could Ben Gibson Bolster Tottenham’s Defensive Ranks?

Article can originally be found on Ninety Minutes Online but as I cannot devote the time to write for them anymore the editor has decided to remove my name from the article, so I’m going to rehost it without a credit as I’m not writing 1000 words just to see them wasted.

Tottenham Hotspur’s second place finish in the Premier League is now just a footnote in the history books as preparations for next season are in full swing, those preparations not only include bringing in new personnel at the club but also the temporary switch to Wembley for a season.

In comparison to their nearest rivals it is fair to say that the club led by Mauricio Pochettino has been the most quiet in regards to transfer activity, or even rumours for that matter, but Spurs are in the fortunate position where they do not need to make that many changes.

With a first eleven that was firing on all cylinders towards the end of the 2016-17 campaign it means that it is only neceesary for evolution not revolution and therefore it is the odd addition to the squad instead of wholesale changes which will be the order of the day.

One area in which Tottenham can improve is their ranks at centre back and predominately the left hand side of the two. It’s not a replacement for Jan Vertonghen that I am advocating but more something along the lines of a better backup for the Belgium international.

 Currently the understudy to Vertonghen is that of Kevin Wimmer; the Austrian international joined the club back in 2015 from Bundesliga outfit Cologne but has failed to really make a notable mark with the North London club.

Ultimately that has been down to the performances of the former Ajax defender Vertonghen as he has forged a partnership with compatriot Toby Alderweireld and in turn created one of the best defensive duos in the Premier League right now.

But there have been times when the partnership has split up due to injuries to Vertonghen and this is where Wimmer has had to step in. In fairness to the Austrian he did look solid when called to deputise in his first season at the club but in the prior campaign the same could not be said.

Two key clashes in which Wimmer was called upon to deputise for ‘Super Jan’ last season were in away trips to both Arsenal and Manchester City and it is fair to say that they were very much two performances to forget.

In the North London derby Wimmer had the ignominy of scoring an own goal which put The Gunners ahead and his performance in the game against Pep Guardiola’s City saw the defender lost all at sea as Tottenham somehow came away from that game with a very unlikely point.

And it is those big game failures that have meant Mauricio Pochettino will look to move on the player and now step up the search in the hunt for additional defensive reinforcements. One player that could fill that berth very well is that of Ben Gibson.

After promotion from the EFL Championship in 2016, the defender had the misfortune of being relegated with Middlesbrough at the first time of asking, but although his team failed to beat the drop the English defender has won a long list of admirers.

There were few plus points to come out the Boro during the previous campaign as a massive goal drought was the key reason as to why they finished second bottom in the Premier League but Gibson will have certainly come away from those exploits at The Riverside Stadium with a large amount of credit to his name.

His talents are much more befitting a top flight outfit and with so many clubs being linked to the 24 year old it is surely not just a matter of if not when Gibson calls time on his stint in the North East.

There have been at least half a dozen clubs linked with trying to acquire the services of the defender who thanks to his performances earned a first England squad call up and Tottenham are one of that group of six. Although the race looks like a hotly fought one, there is an obvious advantage that Daniel Levy can utilise should he look to make a bid.

The likes of Leicester, West Brom and Stoke have been keen to add Gibson to their squad but where Tottenham can easily blow that trio of clubs out of the water is the fact that they can also offer any new signing the chance of playing in the Champions League next season.

That may well be enough of a carrot to put them at the top of the queue in the race to sign the 24 year old. If this was to be the case then Gibson will have a key decision to make – move to a club in the lower reaches of the league where first team football is more likely or be part of a squad in a bigger club competing on many more fronts.

For a player of Gibson’s ilk he will want to be playing as much regular football as possible and that is where he may struggle at Tottenham due to that aforementioned Belgian partnership at centre back but with the club looking to compete on all fronts there will be plenty of games for him to be involved in.

A fee of £20m looks set to be enough to prize the player away from Teesside and that would be money very well spent especially as Spurs believe they can get the same price for any sale of Kevin Wimmer. Therefore it would end up being a break even scenario but an improvement in the squad.

Not only that but with him being such a solid understudy it would also allow Pochettino to rotate at times even in Premier League outings and therefore keep one of his key players fresh without a detriment to the team.

Tottenham now need to be looking at depth in the squad and not particularly going for world-class players; therefore they should be looking at young hungry players who can supplement an already talented first eleven and Gibson would be a player who would fit the brief perfectly

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