Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has confirmed the club will try to sign a centre-back in January after admitting his squad lacks cover in defensive positions.
Spurs are without Mickey van de Ven until next year due to a thigh injury and have allowed Davinson Sánchez, Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon all to leave in the summer, the latter pair on loan.
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With Postecoglou seemingly unwilling to trust Eric Dier in his starting line-up, Tottenham played with full-backs Emerson Royal and Ben Davies at the heart of their defence in recent matches while Cristian Romero served a three-match ban for a red card against Chelsea. Romero returned alongside Davies for last weekend’s 4-1 win over Newcastle United.
When asked whether that pairing would continue in Friday’s trip to Nottingham Forest and beyond, Postecoglou said: “Ben’s still adapting to it. He’s done remarkably well. Centre-back is still a position where, especially in our structure, it is one of the few positions where you need guys with outstanding attributes in there.
“We’ve been very fortunate that he’s been able to fill in for us there. He’s really good at taking in information, he really understands the game, not just his own role but how we want to play and that’s helped him.
“Having Romero next to him helps in that sense and Vic [goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario] because he’s taken a bit of a leadership role back there as well. Ultimately, we still need to sign another centre-back because at the moment we are a little bit on tenterhooks because if something happens again we are short and we are already short.”
Sources have told ESPN that Bournemouth centre-back Lloyd Kelly and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi are two centre-backs among several under consideration.
Postecoglou also said Tottenham’s absence from the Champions League this season has delayed the development of his squad.
Spurs are without any European football after finishing in eighth place last term and after the group stages climaxed this week, Postecoglou said: “I watched it all and European football in general, it is where you want to be. You want to be involved in those games, you want your football club involved and not just because it is European football.
“It is the unique challenges it brings because you are playing in different countries, different conditions, different styles of football so all those kind of things you enjoy.
“It is definitely something this football club should be a part of, absolutely. Not being part of it this year has hurt us because it gives you a chance to develop your squad even quicker with the experiences they have and the ability to give more game time to your squad, so it’s hurt us this year, but hopefully we’re back in it next year and making an impact.”
Giovani Lo Celso will miss the game against Forest with a minor unspecified issue picked up in training this week.