Tottenham Hotspur's newest signing could be joining Spurs within two months. The Daily Mirror reports that American defender DeAndre Yedlin expects to receive his Latvian passport within two weeks, which would open the door for the young right back to join Spurs when the English football transfer window opens in January.
Yedlin is a young player with tons of upside, but he's far from the finished product. He's blessed with an absolutely blistering pace, and excelled in MLS, becoming an MLS All-Star. His ability also earned him a ticket to the World Cup in Brazil this summer, where he played very well against Portugal and kept Eden Hazard mostly in his pocket in USA's match against Belgium. During his tenure at Seattle Sounders he has also showed a rawness to his game, especially on the defensive end, but there's no question he has all the tools to be an international star in the making. And defense can be taught.
It was originally surmised (after a great deal of confusion) that Yedlin was set to join Spurs at the beginning of the 2015-16 season due to work permit issues. Spurs' crisis at right back this season, combined with Yedlin's ability to receive a Latvian passport (his grandmother is Latvian) and MLS' season ending this winter, likely moved up the timeline.
It should be stressed that this has not yet been confirmed by the club, and so enthusiasms should be tempered until it is officially announced. However, here are a couple of things that it could signify:
1. Mauricio Pochettino recognizes his talent. Pochettino is certainly not averse to playing youngsters, and Yedlin has bags of upside. If he's thrust into the fire immediately upon arriving in London there could be some growing pains, but the fact that the club is willing to bring him in six months earlier than previously indicated is a pretty strong sign that they like what they see.
2. This could be the end for Kyle Naughton at Spurs. Naughton had been a rumored transfer target for Swansea this summer, but the long-term injury to Kyle Walker is probably what kept him around. Bad luck to Naughton that he also was injured early in the year, leaving Spurs without a true right back and forcing Eric Dier to deputize. If Yedlin does come in January, that combined with Kyle Walker's imminent return could mean that Naughton might be sold.
3. Poche wants fullbacks that can overlap and stretch defenses. One of the biggest defensive issues since Kyle Walker went down with an injury is that there has not been a similar player that can overlap the winger and push forward, stretch the opposition defense. Pochettino likes to have his fullbacks press high – Danny Rose can and does do this fairly effectively – but Kyle Naughton is not that kind of player, and neither is Eric Dier. With Yedlin, Poche will now have two speedy, marauding right backs that can (hopefully) terrorize defensive lines and cause havoc.
Yedlin is hardly the defensive panacea that Spurs need, but his arrival – if it happens – does signify an intent to the right back position since Walker's injury. Yedlin's coming to Spurs one way or the other, but if he comes in January it could be the extra boost that he needs to propel his game even further. Plus we'd be able to order Yedlin Spurs jerseys earlier than we had anticipated. Squeeeeeeeeee!