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Why Tottenham could be ready to cash in on Reguilon already

Posted on May 12, 2022

In the summer of 2020, Tottenham signed both Sergio Reguilon and Gareth Bale from Real Madrid. While on loan, the latter's arrival generated the greater fanfare, but the former's capture was certainly attention grabbing. On the back of an impressive loan spell with Sevilla, Reguilon was considered by some to be one of the best up and coming full-backs on the continent, so their signing of the Spaniard caught the eye.

Yet in a period of uncertainty in north London, where Spurs underwent drastic managerial upheaval, flitting between styles of play under each new head coach, Reguilon struggled with the constant change that meant supporters haven't yet seen the best of the 25-year-old. The issue now is that whether fans will ever see Reguilon play to his highest standard at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

A groin problem has sidelined Reguilon since Spurs' 1-0 defeat to Brighton last month and it may be that he has played his final game for the north London outfit. When the left-back moved to the Premier League side in 2020, Real Madrid inserted a buyback clause in the deal, which Los Blancos could trigger either last summer, or in the looming window.

The clause would see Reguilon return to the Bernabeu and Spurs recoup a reported £27.5m, which they could then use to fund part of their summer rebuild. And having dropped below Ryan Sessegnon and, to a lesser extent Matt Doherty, in the pecking order, would Spurs fans really be that upset to see the back of Reguilon?

A primary cause of regret would be the wasted potential. When he did move to Spurs, Reguilon was the best rated left-back in La Liga, earning a WhoScored rating of 7.10 for Sevilla to help propel the Spain international into the limelight. Spurs had previously muddled through with Ben Davies as first choice left-back, a far cry from Danny Rose in his pomp, so to have landed an effective attacking full-back was a huge boost for the club.

In 2019/20, his sole campaign with Sevilla, only Pervis Estupinan (59) completed more dribbles than Reguilon (49) of La Liga defenders to further boost his reputation. In two years at Spurs, Reguilon has completed 41 dribbles. In that La Liga campaign meanwhile, a dribble success rate of 71.0% was the 10th best, but in the Premier League; that has plummeted to just 43.2%. In addition, 41 key passes was the fourth best of defenders during his time with Sevilla, while in the Premier League; Reguilon has created just 46 goalscoring opportunities.

He has shown glimpses of his best Sevilla form, there is no denying that, but Reguilon just hasn't looked his best in a Spurs shirt, and that is through no fault of his own. During his time at the club, Reguilon has worked under four different managers - Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason, Nuno Espirito Santo and now Antonio Conte.

The latter's appointment has elevated a number of players and while a move to left wing-back should have seen Reguilon thrive having been handed the freedom to maximise his attacking output, it just hasn't been the case with Conte at the Spurs helm. Indeed, the much-maligned Emerson Royal (22) has made more key passes than Reguilon (20) since Conte took charge, which reflects poorly on the player himself.

However, with such unpredictability surrounding the club over the last 24 months, that was always going to impact a player's performances, and Reguilon is no exception. As has previously been the case with promising young players that move to Spurs, they have struggled with the physical aspect of the Premier League, and coupled with off-pitch issues and changes in playing style, it's no wonder than Reguilon has failed to transfer his 2019/20 La Liga performances to England's top tier.

It'll be a shame for Spurs to see the back of Reguilon, who joined with plenty of promise and with weighty expectations that he could be their long-term solution to their left-back issues. Yet a return to Spain, be it with Real Madrid or another La Liga side, seems the best move for all parties and, when all is said and done, it's unlikely that supporters lose much sleep over his potential summer exit.