Dawson, Kaboul, Chiriches, which two leave?

With Mateo Musacchio potentially arriving as Spurs new centre-back and Eric Dier also recently having joined us from Sporting, we would have 6 central defenders so would need to lose 2 of them, but which two?

Dawson, Kaboul, Chiriches, which two leave?


Most people I believe have got it wrong when they think it spells the end for Dawson this summer. There is one crucial factor that has been almost totally overlooked.

We will start by taking a look at that crucial factor, the players height and I've included the new and potential new signings so you can see where they fit in.

Younès Kaboul 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Michael Dawson 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Jan Vertonghen 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Eric Dier 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Vlad Chiriches 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Mateo Musacchio 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)

The height chart just demonstrates a point as it's not height specifically the problem but ability in the air, which may be due to height. Whoscored list Musacchio as having an aerial weakness, stats reveal he wins only 45.59% of his headers.

The immediate point that leaps out from the table is the height of Chiriches and Musacchio, both are not great in the air (Chiriches 68%) but are better with the ball at their feet. You couldn't for instance play them both together in the Premier League, a side would simply target you in the air. As a manager you have to accept injuries may occur and plan for that eventuality, so from a planning a centre-back pairing perspective that immediately puts Chiriches future in grave doubt.

Eric Dier is comparable in size to Michael Dawson and Younès Kaboul so you'd expect him to be a replacement for one of those. That way with Musacchio presumably the first choice right sided centre-back, any injury to Jan Vertonghen would see Younès Kaboul or Eric Dier fill the left-side.

Michael Dawson rarely moves from the right side of a defensive pairing which doesn't allow for flexibility so that would suggest he would be favourite to leave of the two, however Younès Kaboul only has a year left on his contract. The club wouldn't want to lose him on a free transfer, which he could negotiate in January for the end of the season.

With no transfer fee that allows him to maximise his wage demands from any new club so he would sign a short term contract. If Kaboul were to go Tottenham would want a fee, which means a one-year contract extension offer or selling him this window.

Lazio are known to be costing out a bid which they want to submit, Spurs need to sell so a deal is very possible, although the quoted £6 million (€7.54m) for a player who has had one good season 3 seasons ago is a bit steep. The Italians will want him for half that.

Hull City, among others want Michael Dawson, a fee isn't a problem but there have been other problems preventing a move.  Stepping down a level of club may understandably be an issue for Dawson, who is due a 10 year testimonial in January. Crystal Palace were interested and if West Ham renewed their interest I could see him moving their, same area and Olympic stadium, has a bit of pull perhaps.

Vlad Chiriches agent asked reporters if they had seen his client play when asked if he would stay at Tottenham, going on to tell them he had not adapted, was better suited to Italy and doubted he would ever play for Spurs again. He is still here though and while he has talent on the floor I just can't see the club having two centre-backs weak in the air on the books, risking having to play them together. That would be poor planning.

Chiriches hasn't figured at all in pre-season with claims of a pain in the back, he of course returned from a back injury towards the end of the season but performances suggested that perhaps there was something still amiss. If he is still injured then he is another in a long long of injury prone centre-backs out for long periods, again not ideal.

You can make cases for all three going but if we are to overhaul the centre-back department completely then it will be a two year strategy. Two leaving this window, one leaving next summer with a new arrival, Héctor Moreno (1.85 m - 6 ft 1 in) perhaps.

Looking to the future, Vertonghen, Musacchio, Dier and Moreno as four centre-backs would mean planning the sale of Dawson, Kaboul and Chiriches over this window and the next summer transfer window. Change is more likely to be next summer rather than January as it will have run down a year on Moreno's contract and the summer window is cheaper than the winter one.

The questions then becomes which two do you sell now and how do we maximise our income from player sales. A fee has been agreed for Dawson, it would only go down next year, we can get a fee for Kaboul now or he leaves for free next summer and the fee for Chiriches would possibly remain constant given the length of his contract, at the moment his value has reduced.

Financially therefore keeping Chiriches this summer and selling next would arguably be the thing to do.

Dawson, Kaboul, Chiriches, who's leaving?

The graphic above shows Michael Dawson win 96% of his aerial duels, Younes Kaboul 100% and Vlad Chiriches only 68%. That is a worry but if Pochettino can work wonders with Chiriches and get him to jump higher then his ball playing skills would tip a balance in his favour. Without jumping higher his aerial ability is a liability and if he had to line up alongside Musacchio, a major liability.

Now getting him to jump higher is not as far fetched as it seems. Pochettino, I read, improved a players jumping, when returning from injury, 40% with the use of a devise he has brought to Tottenham.

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Looking at total duels won Dawson was 95%, Kaboul, 100% and Chiriches 92% which suggests as we all know, on the floor Chitiches is a better bet than Dawson. On the floor it is the job of the defensive midfielder to cut balls out before they reach the centre-back whereas he can do nothing about the aerial balls any manager would utilise if that were perceived to be a weakness.

Clearances sees Dawson with 263 (8.21 per game), Kaboul 83 (6.38 per game) and Chiriches 83 (4.88 per game). On that score only one winner.

Interceptions sees Dawson with 67 (2.09 per game), Younes Kaboul 25 (1.92 per game) and Chiriches 39 (2.29 per game). All fairly similar but one that Chiriches edges, you would suggest, due to his greater mobility.

In addition to the graphic and not a main requirement of central defence is the number of forward passes so I'll list those and backward passes just to give a statistical picture.

Forward passes, Dawson 1,287 (40.22 per game), Kaboul 425 (32.54 per game) and Chiriches 574 (33.76 per game).

Backward passes Dawson 218 (6.81 per game), Kaboul 96 (7.38 per game) and Chiriches 166 (9.76 per game).

Now Squawka give us successful passes and a pass completion percentage.

Successful passes, Dawson 1,232 (38.5 per game), Kaboul 380 (29.23 per game) and Chiriches 661 (38.88 per game), Chiriches and Dawson clearly on top.

Pass completion, Dawson 82%, Kaboul 73% and Chiriches 89%. Unfortunately what it doesn't give us is arguably the more important statistics of how many forward passes and successful or a percentage.

For those of you wondering about defensive errors the Squawka stats aren't a very good source as all of us would say each defender has made more errors than they list but I'll put them down. Unless the player actually touches a ball he hasn't made an error as far as they are concerned.

Dawson 4 leading to 2 goals, Kaboul 3 leading to 1 goal and Chiriches 2 leading to 1 goal. As Kaboul and Chiriches have played half the games of Dawson they are all similar and inconclusive.

Plenty there for your to tailor an argument to suit your established opinion, I'll stick with mine that Chirches should be the first out the door as you can't have two of your centre-backs being short, if they had to play together through injuries it would see an aerial bombardment.

Then solely because of the contract situation and an ability to at least get some money for Kaboul, he also to go this window.

I would then look to replace Dawson with Moreno next summer unless a good deal can be arranged in January, assuming Moreno has recovered fitness and form.

By the end of next summer our centre-back situation would then be resolved we would hope.



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