Things haven’t gone to plan for Matt Doherty since joining Tottenham Hotspur in a £15m deal from league rivals Wolves last summer.
Worrying reports surfaced last month suggesting that the 29-year-old’s future at the club was already in jeopardy, with ESPN claiming that Jose Mourinho is unconvinced by his ability and as a result, could be willing to offload him at the end of the season.
Indeed, Serge Aurier has usurped him in the pecking order, even though the Irishman was signed to replace the divisive Ivorian, who has vastly improved himself.
And Doherty’s latest display will have done no favours as Spurs were beaten by arch-rivals Arsenal in the latest edition of the North London derby.
The £18m-rated right-back was their third-worst performer as per SofaScore ratings (6.4) and the worst of the back four that conceded twice to the Gunners.
Should Spurs sell Doherty?
Clearly, things haven’t changed much from ESPN’s bombshell so Mourinho may well be looking for another right-back ahead of next season, though perhaps he ought to look right under his nose first.
No, not at Japhet Tanganga but George Marsh, who has developed into quite the versatile utility man having featured in no fewer than six different positions already.
However, the 22-year-old may have found his feet at right-back during a successful loan spell at Leyton Orient during the 2019/20 campaign. Marsh played 29 matches in all competitions, primarily on the right-hand side of the defence.
Rob Guest at football.london dubbed him one of the success stories from the plethora of young U23 stars out on loan that campaign and speaking about the role, he said:
“Towards the end I played at right-back, which I feel was good for me to show some variety in my game. Again, I had to find a way to adapt my performances so that I could stay as a regular in the team. It’s been an invaluable experience for me.”
Described as “tough-tackling” by the official Spurs website and “hard-working” by the press at Orient, Marsh averaged 1.8 tackles per outing for the League Two outfit, which saw him rank joint-third in that squad, via WhoScored.
By comparison, Doherty has managed only 1.5 tackles per game this season – the sixth-best in this squad – albeit at a higher level though that merely suggests that there is plenty of potential there with Marsh.
Given the need for a new centre-back and potentially a new goalkeeper, should Hugo Lloris leave the English capital for the French capital, then Mourinho could save the club millions if he grooms Marsh into a full-time right-back.
He could also offload Doherty to fund other areas, thus allowing the “combative” 22-year-old a direct route into the first-team.
AND in other news, Swoop for £22.5m monster could create formidable Spurs midfield unit