Tottenham Hotspur ended a three-match skid with an impressive point earned against Manchester City away from home on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League.
But the defensive issues remain, and Ange Postecoglou will know that the January transfer window must shape around defensive reinforcements to ensure that the London side are well-equipped to return to the Champions League with a top-four finish.
Tottenham transfer news – Koki Machida
According to Voetbul Primeur, Tottenham are considering a winter swoop for Union Saint-Gilloise defender Koki Machida, though the Belgian outfit will demand €15m (£13m) for his departure.
Tottenham started strongly this season but collapsed after Micky van de Ven’s injury against Chelsea, and with the Dutchman out until the new year, Machida’s acquisition makes a lot of sense.
Koki Machida’s style of play
Machida has proven himself with USG and, aged 26, will personally feel that he is ready to make the step and impress in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old is certainly of the apt profile, ranking among the top 5% of central defenders across divisions similar to the Belgian Pro League for shot-creating actions, the top 2% for progressive passes, the top 10% for progressive carries, the top 12% for tackles and the top 15% for interceptions per 90, as per FBref.
His progressive passing, in particular, is most enticing, with the five-cap Japan international’s 7.26 per game eclipsing Pedro Porro’s over the past year, with the creative Spurs right-back averaging 4.20 per outing, having clinched four assists from 13 matches in the English top-flight this season.
The 6 foot 3 star has also demonstrated his defensive skills in Belgium, averaging 6.6 ball recoveries, 1.6 tackles and interceptions and 2.5 clearances per game in the league this year.
Who Koki Machida could replace at Tottenham
While the left-footed star could be the perfect option to fill in for Van de Ven at the back as he continues his recovery, it’s unlikely that he would surpass the Dutchman in his formidable partnership with Cristian Romero at the back when both are fit and available.
That being said, Postecoglou will be dreaming of a return to the Champions League and will need to craft a squad capable of competing across multiple fronts, not reliant on the first-choice starting 11.
Machida could provide such a presence and do so to great effect, offering ball-playing skills to play into Spurs’ fluid progression, something that Eric Dier is seemingly incapable of doing, consequently banished to the outskirts of Postecoglou’s squad.
Spurs could spend “crazy money” to sign a bigger talent than Van de Ven
Ange Postecoglou is certain to be active in the January transfer market…
The 29-year-old has been at Tottenham for many years, signing from Sporting Lisbon in 2014 for £4m and racking up 362 appearances, but he has fallen by the wayside this season and has only played twice, not used during the past two Premier League fixtures despite the deluge of absences at the back.
The fact that Emerson Royal and Ben Davies – two natural full-backs – have been preferred speaks volumes, and with the England international out of contract at the end of the season, it’s increasingly likely that he has entered the final stages of his career in north London.
Postecoglou’s decision to banish him isn’t unjust, per se, with Dier ranking among the bottom 46% of centre-halfs across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion and the bottom 9% for progressive passes per 90, incongruous within the club’s new style.
Machida would be an excellent replacement, and given the relatively small figure required for his services partnered with his ball-playing proclivity, Lilywhites chairman Daniel Levy might be convinced to make his move in January.