Tottenham loaning out Djed Spence so soon into his Spurs career would raise a lot of eyebrows, according to former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan.
The Lowdown: Spence linked with loan move
The right-back traded Middlesbrough for Spurs during the summer transfer window, as Antonio Conte made an exciting addition to his squad.
Where will Spurs finish in the Premier League?
Spence excelled on loan at Nottingham Forest last season, scoring twice and registering four assists, but he has struggled to get going at his new club.
The Latest: Whelan surprised by news
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan admitted it would be a surprising decision for Spence to be loaned out in the next transfer window:
“I think there would be a lot of eyebrows raised if he were to go out on loan now. The fans might question why they’ve spent that amount of money on a player just to loan him out.
“Perisic and Doherty are both very experienced, and Royal really seems to have stepped up his game. There’s competition for places at Spurs, which is brilliant – and I’m sure Conte is loving all that rivalry too.
“Does Spence need to bide his time and maybe work harder? Probably, yeah. You can’t change a winning side too much. This is competition he knew he was going to have. He was coming into a team full of international stars.
“He won’t have thought he could walk straight into that side, absolutely not.”
The Verdict: Could be best for him
While this is far from ideal – the hope was that Spence would provide genuine competition at right-back – it could be that another loan move makes sense in January.
The leap from the Championship to the Premier League is enormous, especially when you go straight to a top-four club, and the 22-year-old could simply need more time to mature as a player, having been hailed as ‘combative’ by Ian Wright.
In an ideal world, Spence will show Conte that he is worth persevering with before January, staying put at Spurs, but if a temporary move is best for his development, that is the best thing to do.