Japhet Tanganga faces new right-back threat at Tottenham as Emerson Royal outshines Matt Doherty


Tottenham Hotspur secured the signature of Emerson Royal on deadline day for a fee thought to be in the region of £25.7million.

The former Barcelona man signed for the Catalan giants from Atletico Mineiro back in 2019, but immediately joined Real Betis that summer, going on to become a regular under manager Manuel Pellegrini, making 79 appearances across two seasons.

He returned to Camp Nou this summer after Barcelona exercised a buy-back clause and will now travel to London to join up with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side as they look to continue their fine start to the campaign.

There were already three senior right-backs at the club, now two after Serge Aurier’s contract was terminated by mutual consent, yet Espirito Santo’s decision to play Japhet Tanganga over the likes of Aurier and Matt Doherty in Spurs’ opening three Premier League matches suggested the Irishman was not part of his long term plans either.

This does open the door for Emerson to quickly establish himself as the club’s number one right-back, and based on the potential shown so far in his career, you wouldn’t bet against him doing so.

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What stands out initially when watching the 22-year-old is his raw pace. Whether it be carrying the ball up the pitch, or making overlapping and underlapping runs, he’s a player who can go from being in a seemingly safe position to a dangerous one in a short amount of time.

He’s not scared to run at a defender, and when in the attacking third, he’s capable of swinging in a range of different balls into the penalty area. He finished last season averaging just below three crosses and 2.78 passes into the penalty area per 90.

Those two averages would have ranked him top at Spurs last season in both those metrics when compared to right-backs already at the club. His four assists were also more than any of Aurier, Doherty and Tanganga too.

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Without the ball, his defensive numbers are decent if unremarkable, winning 59% of his duels on the ground and 58.5% in the air. For comparison, these numbers were very similar to each of Aurier and Doherty last season.

You could then make a case that in Emerson, Spurs are getting a player capable of performing similarly to what Spurs already have from a defensive point of view, but who provides more threat from an attacking sense.

Not just that, but Emerson at 22 is significantly younger than both Doherty, 29 and Aurier, 28, meaning he certainly has the potential to develop above and beyond the ability of both those players in the years to come.

It’d be unfair to look totally beyond Tanganga though who has started the season in fine form, yet it seems he’ll now have a fight on his hands to maintain a starting role in Espirito Santo’s side.

Source by Football London

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