Yesterday, in Daniel Levy's Imaginary short list we took a little detour to France. Today we return to England for everyone's favorite: a young English player!!! I will caution you however, that Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk is not the typical young English player that the English press love.
Dunk, who just turned 20 years old, came into the first team for the Seagulls at the end of last season, making 8 appearances. This season, thanks to injuries to other first team defenders and his excellent performances Dunk has maintained his first team place and made 20 appearances. His form has been a big contribution in boosting Brighton to contention for the playoff spots in the Championship only a season after being promoted from League One.
Dunk is a big lad. At 6'3" and 170 lbs he certainly possesses the size to be a successful defender in the English Premier League. Add to his size an excellent jumping ability and you have a formidable aerial presence. Dunk also reads the game well and is calm and composed on the ball.
One benefit of a player like Dunk is that he plays in a system that is transferable to Tottenham Hotspur. Under manager Gus Poyet Brighton pay a very slick passing and possession based game. Poyet puts the onus on his central defenders to be good on the ball and thus far Dunk has not disappointed. It would be nice to have another ball-moving center half in the squad. Michael Dawson is a pretty good passer on long diagonal balls and Dunk has displayed some aptitude for playing similar passes.
One negative to Dunk's game is that he tends to pick up quite a few yellow cards. He's already picked up 10, in all competitions, for Brighton. This could be a result of a number of things. He could be a bad tackler. He could make poor decisions and make some rash challenges; however, his lack of red cards probably rules this out. More than likely, Dunk is just young, inexperienced, and a bit exuberant. Hopefully, this is something that he can smooth out of his game as time goes on.
Dunk might not be too expensive for Tottenham Hotspur. Gus Poyet has said that every player in his squad has a price. Dunk's price may be higher than most, but a fee in the neighborhood of £5 million ought to be more than enough to secure Dunk's services. If Tottenham were to make this purchase in January I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a deal like we saw with Kyle Walker, where we purchase the player and then loan him back to his original club for the season. This would allow Dunk to continue to gain experience instead of rotting on Tottenham's bench.
Obviously, Dunk is not a solution for this season, maybe not even for next season either. However, with Dunk and Steven Caulker in the fold Tottenham would be well positioned for the future with young defenders. If they were also able to add a player like Barcelona's Marc Bartra then Spurs would have a tri-fecta of talented center halves.