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Could Tottenham bring back this former player to replace Kyle Walker?

Adam Smith can play defense and keep the club’s books in order. Bonus!

AFC Bournemouth v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images

You might have heard, but Tottenham Hotspur might be looking for a new right back this summer. That means, annoyingly, that Spurs will be linked with virtually every available right back on the planet, and a bunch who aren’t available.

But this rumor is fun! According to the Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur academy graduate, current Bournemouth right back, and father of modern economics Adam Smith has piqued the interest of Mauricio Pochettino as a possible transfer target this summer, in the wake of rumors linking Kyle Walker with a departure from the club.

Smith is a good, young fullback who came through the Tottenham academy and was considered a pretty good prospect. We ranked him #5 in our 2013 Tottenham Hotspur Prospect Rankings. Unfortunately, Smith found himself mired behind Walker at his position and pretty much spent the whole of 2009 through 2015 on loan. Spurs finally sold him to Bournemouth in 2014. He didn’t play much in the Cherries’ promotion season, but by the end of 2015-16 had locked down the starting job under Eddie Howe.

It’s fair to say that we at Cartilage Free Captain knew of and liked Smith as he was coming through the academy, but he’s not a Walker clone. In fact, he’s not especially fast at all. But, neither is Kieran Trippier, and it’s pretty well impossible to find a direct analogue to Kyle Walker that wouldn’t cost a bajillion pounds.

That said, Smith has turned into a pretty good right back in his own right. He’s started all but two games for Bournemouth this season, and has five assists and a goal. That puts him on par with Walker as tied for the most number of Premier League assists from a right back. He’s solid defensively, and knows how to put a good ball in from wide positions.

Is Smith as good as Walker? Nope. But there aren’t very many wing backs that are. This rumor isn’t exactly rife with evidence or (any) quotes, nor does it say how much he might cost: Transfermarkt lists him with a value of £2.1m, but that’s probably way off — it should take quite a bit more than that.

So no, I don’t believe this yet, but is kind of fun to think about bringing back a former player who’s doing well for a bottom-half club. He’d be excellent competition for Kieran Trippier, even if he doesn’t set the pitch on fire with his running, and I for one wouldn’t be at all sad if the invisible hand guided him back to Tottenham this summer.