5 Central Defenders Tottenham Should Target in the Summer Transfer Window
Last summer, Tottenham spent more than £100 million to bolster a group of midfielders and forwards that desperately needed it—signing the likes of Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela.
This summer, their biggest addition is manager Mauricio Pochettino, and the former Southampton man will probably bring in more defensive talent than his predecessors did.
But where will Pochettino look? Will he raid Southampton's cupboard bare? Will he work to develop talent from the lower leagues? Can he lure top talent from overseas?
Yes, yes and yes.
Tottenham need to give goalkeeper Hugo Lloris some help and I believe the club will sign at least one marquee central defender this summer. Maybe two. Who will it be?
Here's my top five candidates for central defenders Tottenham should target during the summer transfer window.
Dejan Lovren (Southampton)
The Sun (h/t ESPN) is one of several news outlets reporting that Mauricio Pochettino is ready to step up and face down the big boys of England this summer transfer window.
Reportedly, Pochettino wants Southampton centre-back Dejan Lovren to join him in north London. This is exactly what Spurs need, as their back line showed itself to be less than consistent last season. The Croatian international would also bring a balance of physicality and skill to a group of defenders that seems to excel in one but not the other.
The 24-year-old Lovren is young enough where his best years are still ahead of him, he's a deft interceptor and he's a gifted passer. He handles risky situations well, and he is a big reason Southampton allowed only 1.21 goals per match, the sixth-best average last year.
Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
According to The Express (h/t Ben Burrows of The Mirror), Manchester United are keen on signing Mats Hummels to replace the aging Nemanja Vidic, but if new manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to make a big splash this summer, he should hijack the Red Devils' bid.
The 25-year-old was a stalwart defender for Borussia Dortmund last season, and he has played excellently this summer in Brazil. He's young enough that we don't know how good he can be, but even at his current level he's one of the best.
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Although Italy's offense has under-performed this World Cup, their defense is consistently one of the best in international football, and much of that is due to centre-back Giorgio Chiellini.
The Juventus man is strong in the air and tackles well. At 29 years old, Chiellini only has a couple of seasons left at his peak, but we're seeing his ceiling presently, and it's a high ceiling.
Benedikt Howedes (Schalke)
Howedes doesn't get a lot of mentions when talking about the best central defenders, but the German international captains Bundesliga side Schalke and has shown himself to be one of the better defenders of the 2014 World Cup, even contributing an assist in his most recent match against Ghana.
His strengths are many—keeping possession, dribbling, intercepting and quickness—and his weaknesses are almost non-existent.
The 26-year-old is a strong, physical player who can dispossess opponents easily.
Ashley Williams (Swansea City)
Why? He helped Swansea to just four goals conceded in Europa League's group stage, the best in the group. Williams intercepts and blocks the ball well, doesn't make many mistakes and commits few fouls.