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How does Caulker measure up to Tottenham's current defenders?

Steven Caulker has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise largely dour season to date for Cardiff City and his form has not gone unnoticed.

The departure of Steven Caulker caused confusion amongst Tottenham supporters, with many believing the central defender to be one of the club's finest prospects.

Andre Villas-Boas' summer splurge, offsetting the world-record exit of Gareth Bale went some lengths to papering over any cracks remaining in the Spurs ranks, but they let one slip out the back door without so much as a second thought.

In came relatively untried Vlad Chiriches who, to his credit, has become something of a fan favourite but Spurs' continued defensive woes this season this season have led many White Hart Lane onlookers to believe the club may have acted too hastily in offloading a promising talent.

The Spurs faithful will be happy, then, to note the newspaper reports crediting the club with an interest in bringing Caulker back from Cardiff City, where his side have struggled all season long.

Caulker has largely impressed, scoring four goals and providing a calming assurance at the heart of the backline that cannot be said with such certainty about other members.

A £9m fee was greatly received by Spurs last summer, it must be said, and more than contributed to the spree which saw the likes of Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado arrive at the club.

The possibility of bringing back a defender made but not allowed to flourish in North London for a knock-down price must surely hold a level of appeal for the Spurs hierarchy.

Caulker is far more talented than Championship level, and unless Cardiff are able to arrest the slide in the remaining throes of the season, he will surely be moved on as one of the Welsh side's most saleable assets regardless.

The lack of security regarding Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul's futures beyond this summer leave Spurs with a need to reinforce in the central defensive area.

Michael Dawson has failed to consistently shine at centre back despite his lofty status as captain while Chiriches has encountered a spate of injury problems during his time at the club.

It is difficult to properly assess Caulker's contribution this season considering the defensive showings, as a unit, which have left Cardiff in such a precarious position, but 1.87 goals conceded per appearance is hardly that deplorable given Kaboul (1.43) and Dawson's (1.25) records. 

Indeed, Caulker has not made any errors leading to goals or shots this season, working in tandem with Kaboul, with Dawson conceding 0.04 in both areas, Vertonghen 0.09 in the former and Chiriches 0.08 in the latter category.

Likewise, in terms of tackling, Caulker is amongst the current Spurs roster. His 0.77 tackles won per game works out at a 70% success rate, with Dawson (72.7%) and Chiriches (76%) posting slightly higher and Vertonghen way out in front with 87.6%.

Caulker has endured his fair share of struggles aerially too. Vertonghen's reputation as perhaps the best defender at the club is certainly boosted by a 76% success rate in headed duels while Dawson (64.7%) and Kaboul (62.4%) both post higher than Caulker's own 59.4%.

Interestingly, however, Caulker has committed the least fouls of the quintet at 0.19 per game, with Dawson's struggles embodied by the fact he has 0.96 to his name.

With Tim Sherwood's future still far from being resolved, any new managerial regime may extinguish any hope of a homecoming for Caulker but Tottenham could do far worse than sign a player who they know well, and who could belatedly be handed a stage to perform upon in N17.

NameTeamPosGoals Conceded / appsError Lead To Goal / appsError Lead To Shot / appsTotal Tackle / appsWon Tackle / appsAerial Won / appsAerial Lost / appsFouls / appsAppsMins
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 1.87 0 0 1.10 0.77 3.87 2.65 0.19 31 2,790
Younes Kaboul Spurs DF 1.43 0 0 1.43 1.00 2.14 1.29 0.57 7 468
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 1.25 0.04 0.04 1.43 1.04 3.93 2.14 0.96 28 2,502
Jan Vertonghen Spurs DF 1.09 0.09 0 1.45 1.27 2.59 0.82 0.55 22 1,980
Vlad Chiriches Spurs DF 1.08 0 0.08 1.92 1.46 1.46 1.69 0.69 13 1,125

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