Opinion: Better than Doherty – Spurs must surely regret Levy decision on £22m Mourinho target
Tottenham Hotspur saw no fewer than six new players walk through the front door during this summer’s hectic transfer window but might they reject one of their more substantial moves already?
According to Footballfancast, it was pretty evident early doors that Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was pursuing a full-back – as if it wasn’t already clear by his comments to Serge Aurier during their ‘All or Nothing’ docuseries.
Eventually, the north London outfit signed Matt Doherty from league rivals Wolves in a £15m deal but he may well have been a lot further down the shortlist originally.
Reliable sources linked the club to other players prior to the move.
The Telegraph’s Matt Law claimed in August that Spurs were trying to offload Juan Foyth and Aurier to fund a move for Lille’s Zeki Celik whilst Max Aarons was once thought to be the top target to replace the Ivory Coast international after The Athletic made such claims in July.
But perhaps it was another mooted target that Daniel Levy should rue missing out on, and that’s Timothy Castagne, who instead joined one of Spurs’ likely competitors for a spot in Europe next year, Leicester City, despite personally requesting a conversation with Mourinho himself.
The Belgian, who featured versus England last week, cost only £22m and that additional £7m already looks to be the better end of the stick after the opening round of Premier League fixtures.
Not only is Castagne four years younger, but he has also contributed to three goals in just four matches whereas Doherty is yet to do so.
He’s also averaging more tackles (1.5), interceptions (1.5), key passes (one), dribbles (one) and crosses (0.5) per game than the Irishman, via WhoScored. Castagne even has a better passing success rate at 80% having managed more passes (56.3) each match too.
If those workhorse numbers aren’t enough, the 24-year-old is also able to play at left-back, which only makes him seem even more like the better option – at least from the first four matches we’ve seen this season.
Although the early signs are there that Castagne was the one that got away.