I didn’t want to write about this. I was kind of hoping it would just go away, but it could be a thing, and I need to address it. Dan Kilpatrick, writing for ESPN, makes the somewhat shocking suggestion that Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur are considering making a bid for Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala, with Spurs “willing to listen” to offers for Kevin Wimmer.
Dan’s a really nice guy, and I know he has connections to the club, therefore I’m inclined to believe that Mangala probably is on a shortlist somewhere in Spurs Lodge. I don’t blame him for the content of the rumor. However, under no circumstances do I want this to happen. Here’s why:
Mangala kinda sucks.
Mangala came to City on the back of some impressive performances for Porto and was supposed to be the next great City defender. Instead, he completely underwhelmed in his stint at City under Manuel Pellegrini. His performances were dogged by allegations of poor awareness and even worse positioning. Now that Pep is running the show, he’s on the outside looking in: he has yet to make a match-day squad at City this season, with Pep preferring John Stones, Vincent Kompany, and Nicolas Otamendi. He doesn’t appear to have a future at City anymore, and has already been linked with Napoli. So sure, he’s rumored for an exit, but leads directly to...
He’s hella expensive.
Mangala cost Manchester City £42m when they purchased him from Porto in 2014. The fee was initially reported as £32m but was subsequently raised thanks to his split ownership at Porto. That is a staggering amount of money for a defender, and set a record for the most money spent on a defender in English football history.
I have no idea what kind of fee he would be sold for, but considering he’s two years into a five year contract, it would unquestionably be for a pretty substantial chunk of change if City don’t want to take a humungous Financial Fair Play hit. Mangala won’t cost £42m but he’ll still cost a pretty penny.
The only way this would be a remotely sensical move is if it’s a loan. But even so that means that Tottenham would have to cover his wages, which are reportedly £100k/week.
Poche said he didn’t want another defender.
Mauricio Pochettino has already said, on numerous occasions, that he didn’t want or expect to purchase another defender in this window. The disappearance of Kevin Wimmer is a little disturbing, as are the rumors that they’re willing to bail on him, but can be hand-waved away by rumors of niggling injuries. Even if you’re a conspiracy theorist and think Wimmer’s in Poche’s doghouse for something, he slotted right into the side last season and was fantastic. Replacing him with a more expensive (and less effective) defender is ridiculous.
Spurs’ first choice tandem is Janby Alderweirtonghen, and they have Wimmer, Dier, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and even Ben Davies that can jump into defense in a crisis. It seems completely beyond the pale to spend what is probably a stupid amount of money for what would be at best a third choice defender.
Broad, sweeping conclusion:
Hard pass. I don’t like this move, even in theory. I’d rather stick with Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Dier, and CCV. If this is a transfer that actually comes to pass, and especially if Wimmer gets dumped, I will probably be irrationally angry and will start to wonder if letting Paul Mitchell go and putting transfers into Pochettino’s hands was such a good idea after all.