In addition to slumming it in the bottom half, Aston Villa, Sunderland and West Brom share another common trait: they have all kept more Premier League clean sheets (five) than perennial top-four hopefuls Tottenham.
Though defence is an area that the Lilywhites have paid a reasonable amount of attention to, it is something that they still haven’t got right, as evidenced by their four Premier League shutouts in 15 attempts in 2014/15 and a goals-against column of 21.
Nothing sums the situation up better than the Younes Kaboul shambles, with new boss Mauricio Pochettino first reaching the odd conclusion that he was the best fit for the captaincy and then being so underwhelmed by his pick that he has benched him in three successive Premier League games.
Prize defensive asset Jan Vertonghen, who is occasionally linked with Barcelona, has received a similar shuffling this season, while Vlad Chiriches and Eric Dier are also guilty of delivering only fleetingly. Federico Fazio hasn’t even really done that yet.
What they really need is a Premier League-proven centre back and there happens to be one available on the cheap, not quite under their nose but very much within sniffing range.
West Ham’s master tackler Winston Reid is out of contract in June and, as there have been no positive developments since he turned down an extension in the summer, there is significant doubt over whether he will still be at the club that he joined in 2010 next term.
After the sort of awkward first campaign that is to be expected of someone who was previously playing for Danish club Midtjylland and got parachuted into a struggling side, Reid has been imperious since Sam Allardyce’s 2011 arrival.
Allardyce has indicated that it will take a weighty bid to convince West Ham to sell in January. Spurs should at least try though because, even if they fail, it will show before the summer how serious their interest is in comparison to long-term suitors Arsenal, who are notoriously cumbersome transfer window operators.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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