It looks like Michael Dawson may be finally on his way out of Spurs after more than nine years at the club. Sky report the defender is set to have a medical at Hull ahead of a permanent move to the Yorkshire club. He has been a great servant to Tottenham and it will be very sad to see him go.
The 30 year old centre back has had some notable successes in his time at White Hart Lane – winning a League Cup, reaching FA Cup semi-finals, two fourth placed Premier League finishes, a Champions League quarter-final, a Spurs player of the season award and four England caps.
Of late, Dawson’s lack of mobility has been his achilles heel. He isn’t mobile enough for the more progressive system favoured by Pochettino, and unfortunately his reading of the game isn’t good enough to make up for it. Last season this was evident in games against teams with pace and movement up front – Manchester City and Liverpool the obvious examples.
Having said that, he still has many qualities and in the right environment could be a real asset. The two areas where Dawson stands out amongst Spurs current squad are his aerial power and his leadership. His heading ability is obvious, a glance at last season’s statistics for aerial duels proves the point:
|Rank||Player||Aerial Duels Won Per Game|
Leadership is a less tangible asset but one that was in short supply at White Hart Lane last season. The Spurs captain has always led from the front, never shirking his responsibilities, and it was no surprise when he assumed the Tottenham captaincy in 2010.
The ideal replacement for Dawson would possess these characteristics but with more mobility and quality on the ball.
Initially it looked like Villareal centre back, Mateo Musacchio might be on his way to Spurs, but complicated contractual issues seem to have put paid to any deal. Now Federico Fazio is close to signing for Tottenham, with some reports claiming we have already agreed to pay his £8 Million release clause. Pochettino is a former Argentine international centre back and appears to want a compatriot in the middle of the Spurs defence.
Fazio has been at Sevilla since 2007. Similarly to Dawson he has been capped on two occasions by his country. At 6′ 5” and commanding in the air, he certainly ticks the first box. With a statistic of 4.4 aerial duels won per game last season, he even beats Dawson, albeit in a different league.
As far as leadership is concerned, Fazio was named the Sevilla club captain just this month after the departure of Ivan Rakitic to Barcelona. Previously he was a vice captain.
But does Fazio have the mobility, reading of the game and ability on the ball Pochettino requires?
Like Musacchio, the Sevilla player was rumoured to be interesting Barcelona earlier in the summer, which is a good sign. He isn’t the quickest defender but he is fairly mobile and has a good reading of the game, as his 3.32 interceptions per 90 minutes last season testify – just below Musacchio’s impressive 3.42 but way ahead of Dawson’s 2.12. WhoScored.com even lists a penchant for dribbling as one of his strengths!
Of course statistics cannot tell the whole picture. At first glance he may appear to be the Argentine equivalent of Dawson but this is a player who has featured several times in midfield for Sevilla, not something that even the most ardent Dawson fan could see the Spurs player replicating.
Are you sad to see Dawson leave Spurs? Do you think Fazio is an upgrade? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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