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Tottenham's Right Back Conundrum

Alan Hutton is no longer the only fit choice for right back so who should Harry go with? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Alan Hutton is no longer the only fit choice for right back so who should Harry go with? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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As the January transfer window nears, there is a lot of talk about who Tottenham Hotspur might buy. Do Spurs need to get Scott Parker to help out in the center of the midfield? How about making a move for that striker everyone has been pining for? With it looking like David Bentley will be sold and Niko Kranjcar's status still up in the air, as well as the inability of Giovani dos Santos to get on the field, and you would have to think that Harry Redknapp urges Daniel Levy to bring in some wing, right? In all of the transfer speculation, there is no talk whatsoever of Tottenham making a move for a right back, despite it being as uncertain as any spot on the team. Well, that is likely because Spurs have three right back options, but how does Harry sort through them in the season's second half?

The option Harry has preferred most of late is Alan Hutton. For those of you unfamiliar with my thoughts on Hutton, a quick skimming of this should make my opinion clear, but let's try to look at this objectively here. Alan Hutton is bald. That is the end of the objectivity because let's be completely honest here, Alan Hutton is horrendous. Even the most ardent of Hutton supporter cannot call him a good defender. He cannot defend whatsoever and worse, often makes no attempt to defend. He is a sieve at the back and puts unnecessary strain on the Tottenham midfield to track back and cover for him so instead of Aaron Lennon getting forward on counter attacks or running at defenders, he's deep doing his best to compensate for Hutton's non-existant defending.

Now, Hutton would hardly be the only outside back in the world whose defending is questionable on his best days. It's a rather common trait in outside backs and becoming more and more common daily, but those outside backs who eschew defending usually are a massive threat going forward. Hutton spends a ton of time in the opposing team's half, but is amazingly ineffective there. He puts himself in position to make promising runs, but they come to a screeching halt as he gives the ball away. Simply put, Hutton is excellent at nothing and horrid at something so in no way, shape or form is he Spurs best option at right back.

If Hutton is Harry's preferred option at right back this season, Vedran Corluka was that man a year ago. The Croatian gets a lot of flack because he would never be described as fleet footed and isn't much a threat going forward, but his defensive abilities are far better than anyone of Spurs' other right backs. Corluka was stout defensively as Spurs made a run to fourth in the English Premier League last season and his stellar defense behind Lennon most definitely played a part in one of Lennon's finest seasons of his career. Having Corluka in defense not only allows Lennon to stay forward more often, but it opens up space for Lennon because teams usually have to use multiple players to create any sort of attack on Corluka's side so when the Tottenham counter attack gets going, Lennon has plenty of space. In addition, Corluka doesn't often require help from a central midfielder to help, giving Spurs a stronger defense in the center. That said, as good as Corluka is defensively, he provides next to nothing going forward so while being a better option than Hutton and more than good enough for most Premier League teams, he is not ideal.

The best option that Harry has at his disposal for right back is actually a man who has spent the bulk of his time at center back, Younes Kaboul. Because of the glut of injuries to the Tottenham center backs, Kaboul has spent most of the season in the center and did a rather good job at times, most notably against Arsenal. In that match, Kaboul also got forward for a goal and showed his considerable skill in the attack for a defender as big as him. With Michael Dawson now back at fitness, William Gallas playing well, Sebastian Bassong coming along and the possible return of Ledley King, Kaboul is no longer needed in the center and is free to play on the right.

Despite getting the majority of his time at center back, Kaboul is no inexperienced on the right. In last season's Champions League clinching match at Manchester City, Kaboul got the start at right back and even did well to take the ball to the end line and play a cross in that was deflected onto Peter Crouch's head for the winner. He also has a powerful shot, something that he would get to make more use of at right back and his strength and Lennon's speed on the right would make for an interesting combination that would make squad selections for the opponent difficult. Kaboul isn't quite the defender that Corluka is on the right, but he's miles better getting forward and providing and attacking threat. He is also several times the defender that Hutton is and isn't a liability at the back. The added aerial presence Kaboul provides would also better Spurs defending of set pieces while making them more dangerous on set plays of their own.

With Corluka battling injury for most of this season and Kaboul forced to the center because of other injuries, then sidelined for a few weeks because of an injury of his own, Harry has had little choice but to play Hutton at right back and he did have himself a few bright moments. That said, Hutton is not near good enough for Spurs and with Corluka and Kaboul back to fitness, they should be choices one and two at the position. When the team needs their first choice right back though, it is Kaboul they should turn to.