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Toby Alderweireld vs Federico Fazio: Spurs man comes out on top in five key areas

Federico Fazio may still have something to offer Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Toby Alderweireld has told close friends he is set for a move to Spurs, according to a report in The Sunday Times. His arrival would add to Kevin Wimmer’s last month meaning five central defenders battling for two positions at White Hart Lane.

Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen were the favoured centre-back pairing last season and Alderweireld would expect to break into the first XI following his successful loan spell at Southampton.

New signing Wimmer, a starter for previous club FC Koln, will also have first team aspirations but will likely feature in cup competitions initially.

Federico Fazio would not be content with a fifth choice centre-back role and if the Alderweireld move materialises, it would likely mean a departure for the former Sevilla man.

Below are some of last season’s Premier League statistics for the two defenders:

  AppearancesErrors leading to goalTackles (per game)Clearances (per game)Interceptions (per game) Blocks (per game)Dribbled Past (per game)
Toby Alderweireld 26 0 1.7 5.5 1.2 0.8 0.7
Federico Fazio 20 1 1.8 8.3 3.4 1.4 0.4

Fazio made one individual error resulting in a goal, in six fewer games than Alderweireld, but got the better of the Belgian in a number of key categories.

The Argentinian edged it in tackles per game, recording 1.8 compared to Alderweireld's 1.7. He also came out on top in clearances and interceptions per game, averaging 8.3 and 3.4 to the Belgian's 5.5 and 1.2, respectively.

The Spurs man made 1.4 blocks per game to Alderweirweld's 0.8 and surprisingly fared better in one on one duels, being dribbled past 0.4 times per game compared to 0.7 times for the Belgian.

The stats never tell the whole story of course and Southampton's excellent defensive record last season, second only to Chelsea, suggests the team as whole were a better defensive unit. Blocks and clearances, mostly associated with desperate defending, were therefore less common in the Belgian's game.

Alderweireld is better suited to Spurs' high press and his understanding with international team-mate Jan Vertonghen could be the basis of a great partnership.

Fazio however, provides Spurs with something a little different. At 6'5, the Argentinian's height is a great asset and his aerial prowess is suited to certain Premier League fixtures.

Keeping all five central defenders will prove a challenge for Pochettino next season, should he add another, but the much-derided Federico Fazio is worth keeping around.

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