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City’s Walker swoop means Tottenham need some competition for Trippier.


Pep Guardiola’s frustration at losing out on Dani Alves to PSG appears to have had the desired effect in terms of forcing through a move for the right-back that was initially considered Manchester City’s top priority.

Kyle Walker of is due to complete a big money move to Manchester City ahead of the weekend, having had a disagreement with Mauricio Pochettino towards the end of the previous campaign. It saw Kieran Trippier end the season in favour, getting the nod in the FA Cup semi-final and North London derby to send a statement that no one player is bigger than the team.

Walker had been an integral part of Spurs’ rapid development after all, but when the manager felt as though he was stepping out of line he had no problem making an example of the England international. The 27-year-old will now complete what will be a world record transfer for a defender, trading the capital for Manchester in a deal worth £50m.

Competition is necessary

It certainly strengthens a Premier League rival, of that there is no doubt, but every player has his price and Tottenham have an able deputy in waiting. That said, the only remaining side yet to make a signing this summer will now have to find someone to compete for that crucial spot on the right.

Given Pochettino’s fondness for attacking midfielders cutting inside and flooding central areas, the width has to be provided by the full-backs, or indeed wing-backs depending on the system utilised. In turn the Argentine must find a player capable of fulfilling both roles ahead of what promises to be another congested campaign of fixtures.

There is one outstanding target that should surely be at the forefront of the club’s thinking, and that is Ricardo Pereira.


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Like for like replacement

The Portuguese flyer has spent the last two seasons on loan at Nice, showing incredible versatility to play across almost every possible position on either flank. His first season saw the Porto man act as a replacement for Villa-bound Jordan Amavi at left full-back more often than not, though he spent much of the campaign gone by in a more familiar right-sided berth.

Initially considered as a wide forward in his homeland, Pereira has taken to a more defensive role with aplomb, excelling at wing-back in particular last season, well-versed in playing a formation that Pochettino has grown increasingly fond of. His ability, meanwhile, to shift to the left when necessary would be a real bonus, particularly given Danny Rose’s injury problems of late.

The 23-year-old boasts similar physical traits to Tottenham’s first choice full-back pairing from last season, always looking to utilise his pace in order to support attacks from wide.

His figures from an offensive standpoint last season were actually remarkably similar to those of Walker, registering four assists to the Englishman’s five from an identical number of key passes per game (1.2). He produced marginally more dribbles on average (1.2 to 1.1) and attempted more shots (0.8 to 0.6), returning two goals where Walker failed to score.

Pereira has International experience

The Portugal international also edged it for interceptions (1.3 to 1.2 per game) but does have the weaknesses to his game that Walker suffered from prior to Pochettino’s guidance. While Pereira made more tackles per game last season (2.9 to 2.2), he was also caught upfield more often and easier to beat, being dribbled past 1.4 times per game to Walker’s excellent 0.5 and committing slightly more fouls.

His timing in the tackle and knowing when to engage with an opponent could be improved then, though as mentioned, Pochettino’s mentoring did the world of good for Walker and could do the same for the Porto man. In terms of striking a deal with the Liga NOS outfit, they are prime candidates to negotiate with having been punished by UEFA last month for breaching financial fair play regulations.

The fact, then, that Pereira has spent the last two years away from Lisbon may well make him a saleable asset to the Portuguese outfit, so Daniel Levy would have the chance to showcase his bargaining skills to get the best deal for the Londoners. It’s fair to say that with the £50m the club will receive for Walker, a transfer fee will be no issue for Spurs, though they should act fast to secure the services of a player that is in demand across the continent.

Content Manager, WhoScored.Com

You can follow more of his tips on Twitter @WSTipster

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