Anyone that has watched Tottenham this season will know that the club badly needs to sign a new right-back this summer. Serge Aurier is a defensive liability, Juan Foyth has hardly played under Jose Mourinho this season and Kyle Walker-Peters has been sent out on loan.
Two young players that are in the frame to be the team’s starting right-back next season are the Norwich starlet Max Aarons and Nice’s Algerian international. Both have been linked with a move to the club over recent seasons.
Reports claim that it’s Aarons who is now the club’s preferred signing, due to the fact that he’s English and has homegrown status. At a time when Spurs are short of homegrown players for their European squad, this is a factor that must be considered.
There are additional reasons why signing Aarons makes more sense for Tottenham. Still only 20-years old, the player has built up a good deal of experience in a short amount of time. Breaking into the team in the 2018-19 season in which Norwich were promoted from the Championship, Aarons was named as the EFL Young Player of the Year in his debut campaign. Aarons was also selected in both the EFL Team of the Season and the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
Things have been tougher for Aarons since Norwich moved up to the Premier League, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a defender. The Canaries were bottom of the Premier League when the season was interrupted, but Aarons made 26 top flight appearances and will have learnt a lot. He also broke into the England U21 setup this season, winning the first of five caps in August 2019.
If Norwich were to be relegated, it would certainly make it easier for Spurs to prise the player away from Carrow Road. Also in Tottenham’s favour is that the other big clubs in England have all got good options at right-back.
Atal is perhaps seen as a bigger talent, having made a great impression at Nice since signing for the French club in 2018, yet there are a couple of factors that should be questioned by Spurs, if they are considering signing him.
The first is that it is a big step up from Ligue 1 to the Premier League. Tottenham know this first hand, with players such as Aurier and Tanguy Ndombele amongst a number of signings from France that have found it hard to adapt to the English top flight.
Then there is the issue of Atal’s fitness. The full-back suffered a knee injury back in December, which has restricted him to 13 league appearances this season. Atal has since had surgery and any club making a summer move for the player, would be taking a risk on how well he recovers.
Aarons would be the more sensible purchase this summer. If Atal can prove his fitness, then perhaps he can be a target for future transfer windows.