With the Cameroon international on loan at Queens Park Rangers, centre-half Jan Vertonghen has been forced to play out of position.
The main transfer priority for Tottenham in the January window must be the acquisition of a new left-back, with the position a problem area for Andre Villas-Boas’ men.
With Kyle Naughton not deemed up to retaining a consistent place in the Spurs starting XI and Danny Rose injured, the only option has been to play Jan Vertonghen as a full-back, even though his preferred role is in the centre of defence.
The Belgian is Tottenham’s best defender and one of the top in the Premier League and playing him out of position has nullified his substantial influence. The former Ajax man has also been vocal in his disdain for playing at full-back and the club risk alienating one of their best players as a result.
Although Benoit Assou-Ekotto is clearly not in Villas-Boas’ plans, letting the specialist left-back go on loan to QPR may well have been the wrong move.
Although the Cameroon international’s attitude is questionable, he has been an important player for Spurs over recent seasons and has proven that he has the ability to play and prosper in the Premier League.
The signing of a new left-back in January will neutralise this issue, but for the first half of the season have Assou-Ekotto at Whtie Hart Lane could have been a good short-term fix.
It would have allowed Vertonghen to play at centre-half, boosting Spurs’ back four as a result. The African left-back has more experience and is a better player currently than either Naughton or Rose – and as such it would have made sense to let one of these players leave on loan instead.
If Spurs fail to tempt a left-back of quality to north London in January, it could well be a major downfall in their attempts to finish in the top four.
Vertonghen has looked short of inspiration in the last couple of games, and is clearly eager to move back to centre-half – which would be of benefit to the player and the team.
image: © jtadych