Former Tottenham defender Alan Hutton has voiced his admiration for reported Spurs transfer target Ainsley Maitland-Niles but doubts that the club will sign him in the current window.
Last week, the Daily Mail reported that Spurs were planning a transfer bid for the player from their north London rivals Arsenal, who value him at £20m but are open to offers for the 22-year-old. The report added that Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is seeking to bolster his right-back options, with Serge Aurier the only natural fit for that position in his current squad.
However, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy warning that the club will not be spending “rivers of money” in this transfer window, Hutton believes that the Lilywhites will be reluctant to pay the Gunners’ asking price for Maitland-Niles.
He told Football Insider: “I don’t think the rivalry’s as bad as you think nowadays – I think it’s more the fee that’s putting Mourinho off.
“£20million for such a young player is maybe putting him off a little bit. I think he is very versatile, he does tick all the boxes, he can play multiple positions, he’s technically good and he’s got a great engine.
“It’s an area where Tottenham need to go and spend money on, is right-back. Obviously he’s fancied Aurier but too many mistakes for my liking. He isn’t going to help them get to where they want to be.
“I think he (Maitland-Niles) would be a good option but I just probably think the fee’s too big for Tottenham at the moment.”
Even with Levy hinting at a frugal transfer window and the player representing their arch-rivals, Hutton’s doubts over Tottenham paying £20m for Maitland-Niles seem surprising.
Hutton has acknowledged that Spurs are threadbare for right-back options and that Aurier has been culpable of defensive errors in the past, but it’s worth remembering that the Ivorian cost £23m when they signed him three years ago. With a further three Champions League campaigns under their belt since then and the prize money which that entails, they should certainly be able to part with £20m for a player who is already established in the Premier League.
Would you take Maitland-Niles at Tottenham for £20m?
Also, as Hutton pointed out, Maitland-Niles is capable of operating in numerous roles, having played on both flanks and in the centre of both defence and midfield during his career (as per TransferMarkt). Plus, as an alternative to Aurier, he seems a reliable option. The Arsenal man won 1.9 tackles and made 1.3 interceptions per game last season, admittedly inferior to the Ivorian’s 2.7 for the former metric but level with him for the latter. Also, the Gunners player is more reliable in possession than Aurier, with his 80.4% passing success rate trumping the 27-year-old’s 79.1%.
In a summer transfer window which has seen Brighton value Ben White at £50m despite having never played a Premier League game, a fee of £20m for Maitland-Niles seems very reasonable and one that Tottenham should be able to afford and should strongly consider paying.
Tottenham fans, do you agree with Hutton’s verdict on Maitland-Niles? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience