Is DeAndre Yedlin's Move to Tottenham Hotspur Right for Player and Club?

Sam Rooke@@SamRooke89Featured ColumnistAugust 14, 2014

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Seattle Sounders right-back DeAndre Yedlin has agreed a four-year contract with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

When Spurs announced the signing, there was celebration and trepidation in equal measure.

Following a breakout season for club and country which culminated in three appearances for USMNT in Brazil, Yedlin was hotly tipped for a move to Europe. Spurs won the race to sign the talented 21-year-old, but what is to become of him now?

Will he continue to blossom and take the Premier League by storm or will he fail to displace incumbent right-back Kyle Walker and stagnate?

When rumours surfaced that Yedlin might join Spurs, former Tottenham and USMNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller tried to warn him against the move. Recognising Spurs' large and talented squad, Keller told that "it's hard to develop if you don't play."

Keller speaks from bitter experience, having been loaned out to Southampton during his time with Spurs. 

Keller is not wrong to point out Spurs' habit of collecting young players, only for them to fail to reach their potential.

At this point, hard as it may be for some fans to hear, that is all Yedlin is: potential. But that potential should excite fans of both Spurs and the USMNT.

His second season as a professional is in its infancy, yet he has shown enough to motivate Spurs' investment.

Yedlin possesses a pure pace that even his (eventual) rival Kyle Walker doesn't have. Walker is very quick, but Yedlin's pace is genuinely staggering. His acceleration is the equal of Aaron Lennon at his most electrifying.

Able to blow past his marker and exploit space behind the defensive line, Yedlin forces opponents to stay wide. That, in turn, opens up space for his teammates. His mere presence on the pitch influences the game.

He is a positive player, constantly seeking to take on an opponent. For both Seattle and Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT, he is a rapier on the right flank. 

Calm in dangerous situations, he rarely dives into tackles. He is not an excellent defender yet, but much like Walker, his pace allows him to recover when his positioning lets him down.

There are few Paolo Maldinis in this world. Few players born with a seemingly innate understanding of defending. For most players, it takes many years to master the art.

At 21 years old, Yedlin has time to improve that side of his game, but the challenge should not be underestimated. He has agreed to join the fastest and most physical league in the world and plays in the most demanding position. 

Yedlin can be one of the first, if not the first, genuinely home-grown American football star. He is a product of the Seattle youth system, the first such player in their history.

While the ceiling of his talent is far beyond what he has shown so far, Yedlin has reached significant acclaim before moving to Europe. Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and even Michael Bradley had to make their moves in order to break into the wider consciousness. Yedlin could become the standard-bearer of the next generation of US stars. 

Built to excel in the modern full-back's role of auxiliary winger, the Seattle native can hone his craft under the ideal stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine manager has helped many young players to better exploit their talents and can do the same for Yedlin.

Pochettino has a penchant for rotation. Last season, at Southampton, he used both Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne in that role. Yedlin will get his chance.

Upon arrival, Yedlin would likely be Spurs' second-choice right-back. Kyle Naughton will probably start Tottenham's opening Premier League match, but he is now their third-best in his position. With Walker's fitness concerns, Yedlin is not necessarily consigned to the substitutes' bench.

But he has staked much in making the leap to Europe so early. While it seems eminently sensible to capitalise on his World Cup fame, Yedlin risks frittering away the crucial years of his development on frustrating loan spells in a string of anonymous English towns. 

While the purchase of Yedlin will likely be quickly repaid in shirt sales, this was not a move motivated by commercial interests. Yedlin has been bought to play football. Though broadly similar, he offers legitimate competition to Kyle Walker and will be given the opportunity to show his talent. 

It remains to be seen just how good Yedlin really is. Even if he were the most dominant player in MLS, there would be no guarantees that he would leave his mark in England.

The list of brilliant Premier League full-backs is short. It is a demanding role, both physically and mentally, and Pochettino demands more of his full-backs than most. 

Yedlin has made the right move. Joining a big club has signalled his ambition, but he rightly avoided the renowned stockpilers of talent such as Chelsea.

He will be afforded the opportunity to fight for a place at Spurs ,and if he succeeds, they and the USMNT will benefit.


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