Ben Davies’ role in Ange Postecoglou’s master plan as Tottenham plot next transfer

Ange Postecoglou will be crossing his fingers that he has a few more defensive options to choose from for Tottenham’s Premier League opener against Brentford. A priority for the club in the transfer market, Spurs have been linked with a number of centre-backs, including Micky van de Ven and Edmond Tapsoba, but have so far failed to add to their back line.

Last week on the club’s pre-season tour of Australia, the new Spurs manager made it clear that that he had quickly identified central defense as an area the club needed to strengthen. He said, “Some of [the areas needing new players] I had identified early. I don’t think it’s any secret about some of the areas we had to strengthen. The goalkeeper was one and the central defense is another.”

Asked if he wanted more centre-back options in the door ahead of the Brentford game, the 57-year-old added: “Yes, I think that’s certainly our intention, absolutely. We’ve been working on it for a while and we’ll certainly try to get it done as soon as possible.”

Having previously operated with a three-man defense and wing-backs during Antonio Conte’s time in charge of the club, the appointment of Postecoglou will see Tottenham shift defensively and return to a back-four. Due to the change in the system, it remains to be seen exactly where Ben Davies will line up for the Lilywhites.

Signed from Swansea City nine years ago and playing as a left-back for the club, the arrival of Conte at the N17 in November 2021 saw Davies switch to the left-sided role in his back three. Having gained experience playing there for Wales, the 30-year-old excelled in the position and became one of the first names on the team sheet under the Italian.

However, there is a difference between playing at centre-back in a back-three compared to the central berths in a back-four, which calls into question Davies’ position in Postecoglou’s Spurs team going forward. The Wales international has extremely little experience playing at centre-back in a back four for Tottenham, with Spurs’ 1-0 win over Burnley in December 2018 his first appearance there.

READ MORE: Van de Ven deal, Kane’s future and transfer exits – What Tottenham must do in the next 19 days

A lack of defensive options due to injury forced Mauricio Pochettino into a reshuffle, resulting in Davies partnering Toby Alderweireld against the Clarets. A completely new role for the player at the time, he stated after the match that he “enjoyed it” and the manager’s trust in him more than helped him succeed there.

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