Tottenham Hotspur continued their dismal run of form in the Premier League as Ange Postecoglou’s side ceded a winning position against West Ham United to fall to defeat.
Last weekend, Spurs had battled their way to a 3-3 draw at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City, but there was to be no such joy in London, with the club now having lost their past three matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, winless in five in the top-flight.
Injuries, of course, have been a defining factor behind a recent bout of results that have been a bitter by-product of a lack of squad depth, exacerbated by the deluge of absences.
But there’s no excuse for falling flat against David Moyes’ men, and Postecoglou now has his work cut out to rekindle the fluency that surged his side into the ascendancy in the early months of the campaign.
While signing a new centre-forward is among the club’s priorities, it’s crystal clear that defenders are needed to stop the rot and allow Postecoglou to create a winning culture, eradicating the flimsiness that still pervades the squad.
Tottenham transfer news – Jarrad Branthwaite
According to Sky Sports, Tottenham are interested in signing Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite as Postecoglou looks to improve his backline.
The 21-year-old has been a revelation at the back for Sean Dyche’s team since returning from a loan spell with PSV Eindhoven in the summer.
Swiping him away from Goodison Park will not be easy – especially in January – with the Toffees fighting against relegation after a ten-point deduction.
But Spurs desperately need reinforcements and could make a move for the £26m-rated starlet, as he has been valued by CIES Football Observatory, landing a player who could make a dramatic improvement on the current options.
Jarrad Branthwaite’s season in numbers
Micky van de Ven and Cristian Romero are Tottenham’s starting centre-back pairing and had proved to be a success across the opening months of the campaign, restoring the defensive mettle as Postecoglou engineered a rise to pole position in the Premier League.
But that has all fallen away over recent weeks, with £43m summer signing Van de Ven out injured until after the new year and Romero recently returning from a three-match suspension – such losses illuminated the squad’s fragility.
Branthwaite would bring the perfect solution, with his exploits in the Premier League this term showcasing his skills and ability to thrive at an ambitious outfit such as Spurs – targeting a return to European competition and the gleaning of major silverware after an interminable drought.
Having chalked up 21 senior appearances for Everton, the 6 foot 5 colossus has finally cemented a starring role at the club after spending several seasons out on loan and on the periphery, still learning his trade.
Since sitting the first two league encounters on the bench this season, Branthwaite has been an unwavering rock in the rearguard henceforth, playing every minute of action across the past 13 fixtures.
As per Sofascore, the rising star has been immense in the Premier League this season, making 2.0 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 7.1 ball recoveries (that’s remarkable) and 5.2 clearances per game, also winning an impressive 65% of his duels.
But what is it that makes him such a coveted prospect? And why do Tottenham pursue his signature with fervour? Postecoglou’s talent radar is first-class and Branthwaite boasts the attributes to succeed at the very highest level.
Jarrad Branthwaite’s style of play
Tall and commanding, Branthwaite is viewed by those at Goodison Park as a modern, ball-playing defender, also quick and calculated, capable of tracking down attacking opponents before they reach the danger area.
His front-foot defending has been exemplary and left the likes of the Times’ Henry Winter marvelling at his “superb” performances.
As per FBref, Branthwaite ranks within the top 25% of positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for tackles, interceptions, clearances, blocks and aerial wins per 90, highlighting his incredible defensive skills that would be a complement to any defence across Europe’s divisions.
Jarrad Branthwaite: Similar PL Players
Micky van de Ven
*Sourced via Football Transfers
It’s worth noting that the table above lists Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly – who has been pursued by Tottenham in 2023 – as his most comparable player, but it’s even more eye-catching that he’s so similar to Van de Ven, who has slotted into the Lilywhites’ system like a dovetail joint.
Said to have “world-class potential” and “never seen” speed for a central defender by former head of Ajax talent development Ruben Jongkid, Van de Ven has been immense in front of Guglielmo Vicario’s goal, sadly stifled by the hamstring injury he is currently nursing.
Van de Ven has also been crisp in his passing – completing 95% of his balls this season – and has averaged 5.4 ball recoveries per game, really underpinning the athletic ability that Branthwaite could not only emulate, but match in its entirety with a transfer to London.
Based on the evidence from Van de Ven’s start to life in north London, it may well be an excellent idea to seal a swoop for a talented young centre-back in Branthwaite, who is already proving that he has what it takes to cement a spot as one of the leading titan’s in European football in the future.
Tottenham’s desire to bolster at the back is clear, and with Branthwaite displaying athleticism, power and pace to rival Postecoglou’s summer signing, all the stops must be pulled to get this one over the line.