Tottenham’s opening match on the rain-sodden Hong Kong pitch was eventually played out in an abridged format (40 minutes per half) despite fears over player safety.
These fears came to fruition as the Belgian centre-back lost his footing on the slick surface early on in the second half—damaging his ankle ligaments in the process.
The resulting news that Vertonghen will be sidelined for 2-3 weeks comes as a considerable blow to Tottenham’s rear guard.
Vertonghen’s injury serves to highlight the threadbare nature of the Spurs’ back line, with the somewhat surprising departure of Steven Caulker and the ongoing fitness concerns over Younes Kaboul compounding the issue. It’s definitely an area of concern that needs to be rectified in the transfer market. And fast.
However, defensive partnerships require time to gel and flourish, so it’s imperative that others in the lily-white cohort act accordingly to compensate for the absent centre-back.
Let’s take a look at the five players most likely to take up that mantle.