We take a look at Tottenham’s current situation on the left side of defence. And transfer target Guilherme Arana, the Brazilian left-back, theorising as to what he could offer to the squad.
Danny Rose is firmly established as first choice left-back at Spurs and Ben Davies provides quality back-up. So it is perhaps not obvious at first glance that the position is in need of further bolstering. However, we have already seen this season that in Rose’s absence through injury, Mauricio Pochettino may not trust Davies as implicitly as some others in his squad.
Davies started two Champions League games during the time of Rose’s sidelining. But in between appearances against Monaco and in Moscow, his place was taken at left-back by Jan Vertonghen. Given the heavy workload Davies had endured around this time, it may simply be a case of rotation. Yet the Welshman’s indifferent performance at Wembley against the principality leaves that open to interpretation.
Davies appeared only for the final 13 minutes in the 1-0 win over Sunderland. A recall and playing the first 80 in a 5-0 League Cup demolition of Gillingham followed only days later. That Tottenham’s fullbacks endure a heavy workload is certain, but if Davies was considered crucial to Pochettino’s plans, then a rest against Gillingham rather than in the Premier League appears the more pertinent approach. Especially given the added stress placed on the body and mind of Vertonghen through filling in at fullback.
Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between – that Pochettino does trust Davies. But that one injury and a heavy schedule left Spurs with little option other than to give a tired Davies the game off. And hope Vertonghen made it through before a rest in the League Cup. If that’s the case, it worked; but surely gave the manager a few sleepless nights for fear that one of Vertonghen or Davies then went down.
Squad depth and competition dictates in the last month alone that a new left-back is a wise move. We have seen with the recent additions of Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko in particular that Pochettino is keen to add options that either improve his starting XI directly or push the incumbents harder. Thus whilst Davies (23) and Rose (26) still have long futures at the club, any added competition and option seems a win-win for club and players alike.
Rose has developed into one of the top fullbacks in the Premier League, whilst Davies is a solid performer if not as quick or offering the same intent going forward. So, what could rumoured transfer target Guilherme Arana bring to the table?
The Corinthians defender’s strengths have him aligned more to the playing style of Rose. At just 19, he will surely be given time to grow and develop fully into this type of player. Yet his raw characteristics of extreme pace, acceleration and dribbling skills mark him as the archetypal Pochettino fullback. Someone who can get forward and influence attacking moves, whilst also tracking back quickly to cut off a counter-attack. In fact, sounds just like Rose doesn’t it?
Whilst it was over a year ago, Football Talent Scout list his other key attributes as “liking to tackle, cross…cut from the flank to inside of the pitch to shoot or pass. (He is) hard working, and quick at anticipating the movement of opponents…fearless in the tackle, capable of shooting on target from long distance.” He is even described as positionally ideal in a 4-2-3-1 formation, so it is hard to avoid the feeling that this is a legitimate transfer target for Tottenham.
Danny Rose Mark II he may just be. From the video below you will even see a similar strike from long-range that is just a little reminiscent of Rose’s North London derby debut all those years ago. Spurs face competition from the likes of Schalke, and no doubt other European heavyweights for his signature. An exciting prospect, it appears even if he does not end up at Spurs then we have an insight into exactly the type of fullback Pochettino is chasing.