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Spurs look to bolster fullback with Wolves’ Matt Doherty

He fits the Mourinho mold, but there’s a problem.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

While Tottenham Hotspur continue their pre-season training at Hotspur Way ahead of the start of the Premier League season on September 12, Daniel Levy and Jose Mourinho continue the hunt for players to bring into the squad.

Right fullback has been a hot topic for everyone involved with the club. Serge Aurier increasingly looks like he’ll exit stage right this summer, whether it’s to Serie A or the Bundesliga. This will leave a gaping hole on the right flank that Spurs will need to fill with two bodies. One player that has been linked in the last couple of weeks is Wolves right back Matt Doherty, whom Alasdair Gold of Football.London has written a report about.

The 28-year-old Republic of Ireland international made 50 appearances for Wolves last season as the Midlands club finished seventh in the Premier League and reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League. understands that Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is a fan of Doherty, who can play not only as a right-back but also as a wing-back, right-sided midfielder and as a left-back.

Let’s start with the good: Doherty is what Mourinho wants in a fullback. He’s a big, physical fullback at 6’1” and is versatile. To have a player that can slot into multiple positions can bail out a squad in a pinch when it comes to rotation. Doherty is also #2 in chances created over the past two seasons by EPL right backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool taking the top spot. Also, he would count for homegrown status, as Gold explains in the article:

Crucially, the right-back also counts as homegrown due to spending three years at Wolves before he turned 21, having been signed for just £75,000 from Irish side Bohemians in 2010.

Also, Doherty is basically god-tier for xG/xGA from a fullback:

The deal sounds good, but there is some cause for concern.

First, Doherty is 28 years old, which is older than Aurier. He will turn 29 in January, so Spurs would be buying a fullback for only a couple of seasons to fit the current system in place. Doherty also has three years remaining on his current contract, and while Wolves are bringing in Arsenal fullback Ainsley Maitland-Niles to possibly start in that position, Wolves need the rotation as well. Gold suggests that a deal would cost about £12m, so it’s very club-friendly.

Also, his defensive radar is a little rough, to say the least:

Doherty’s numbers vs. Serge, especially when it comes to tackles, interceptions, pressures and dispossessions are not good. Say what we want about Serge and his inconsistency, but this is concerning to me.

We know Spurs need new fullbacks, potentially on both sides. It depends, ultimately, on where Ryan Sessegnon fits into Mourinho’s plans on the left flank. I get there is a specific type of player Mourinho wants at the fullback spot, and if Doherty is a rotational piece and the club goes after a younger player to be the primary choice such as Timothy Castagne from Atalanta, I’ll be far less concerned. If Gold is spot-on with the £12m fee, Doherty’s attacking abilities plus his homegrown status make it a tough deal to turn down. It just needs to be a complement and not the primary package.