Mauricio Pochettino’s quest to shore up Tottenham’s leaky defence continued apace last week with the capture of Burnley right-back Kieran Trippier on a five-year deal.
The former Clarets defender – who carded the third-highest Fantasy Premier League score (118 points) among his team-mates last term – lauded the quality of Spurs’ squad, insisting he’ll do his utmost to forge a route into their starting XI:
“When I first heard that the club was interested I didn’t have to think twice because it’s such a big club and now I just can’t wait to get started. I’m very keen to perform in training every single day, do the best I can and hopefully get the nod from the gaffer. Whenever I get a chance, I want to do well for the other players, the staff and, of course, the fans. The squad here is unbelievable, there’s so much quality in the team and I’m really looking forward to starting work in pre-season and being a part of that. I’ll take every opportunity I get with both hands and hopefully play my part for everyone at the club.”
The Bury-born Trippier learned his trade as part of Manchester City’s youth set-up from the age of nine. Having captained the Sky Blues’ triumphant reserve side in the 2007/08 FA Youth Cup, the rampaging right-back penned his first professional contract.
Trippier joined Championship outfit Barnsley on a one-month loan deal from February 2010 but only managed three appearances due to injury. The former England U21 international made the switch back to the South Yorkshire club the following summer, originally joining on a six-month loan deal that was extended to encompass the full campaign. Trippier recorded 41 appearances in all competitions throughout 2010/11, notching two goals and six assists, and claiming the Young Player of the Season award.
Burnley then sought to recruit Trippier on a season-long loan deal as a replacement for their outgoing right-back Tyrone Mears, before signing him permanently during the January transfer window. Trippier amassed four goals and six assists in 50 appearances in all competitions, and was named Burnley’s Player of the Year.
In the 2012/13 campaign, Trippier – who was honoured in the Championship Team of the Year – missed just one league clash (due to suspension) and tallied a hugely impressive 12 assists in 45 outings. The next season harvested a similarly head-turning attacking output, as Trippier chalked up two goals and 14 assists across 46 outings en route to Burnley’s promotion and another spot in the Championship Team of the Year.
During Burnley’s one season in the top-flight last term, Trippier played all but five minutes of his side’s 38 league fixtures, notching four assists in the process – only six defenders registered more.
In light of Kyle Walker’s ongoing injury issues (he missed 23 matches last season and clocked only 2300 minutes in the 2013/14 campaign) and DeAndre Yedlin’s inexperience, it’s no surprise that Spurs felt obliged to bolster their right-back options. Certainly, the fact that Trippier sat out just six league matches in the past four seasons must have factored into their transfer committee’s thinking as Pochettino hunted for a reliable option.
From a Fantasy perspective, Trippier’s exceptional creative output should render him a real prospect in Spurs’ rearguard if he can nail down a starting berth and the North London club can improve on a paltry haul of nine clean sheets. Astonishingly, Trippier attempted 341 crosses last term and executed 42 more successful crosses than the next best defender Leighton Baines (91 to 49), underlining his proclivity for hugging the touchline. Incidentally, Baines was the only defender to fashion more key passes (70) than Trippier (63), who outclassed the much-vaunted Branislav Ivanovic (36) in this regard.
Considering that Burnley were the lowest-scoring team last season with 28 goals, there’s certainly scope for Trippier to improve on his four assists. In fact, the Lilywhites’ latest recruit tallied more than double the volume of successful crosses than Tottenham’s full roster of defenders (43) last season, while he came close to trumping their collective key pass output (73), too. With regards to his direct competitors, Trippier’s average of 57 minutes per key pass was more than twice as quick as Walker’s 125.4 and far superior to Danny Rose, whose average of 92.2 was the most impressive of any Spurs defender.
Tottenham’s poor defensive record last season (only four sides were breached on more occasions) should ensure that their rearguard starters are pitched at similar price points next term, with a ceiling of 5.5 expected. Given that Jan Vertonghen has managed just one goal and an assist in the last two seasons, Trippier looks poised to challenge Rose as the primary route into Spurs’ rearguard.
Fantasy managers might elect to hold fire in the early stages of next season, though, given that Pochettino’s troops open with a trip to Old Trafford and then face tough match-ups against Stoke City, Everton and Manchester City in their subsequent six fixtures (STO, lei, EVE, sun, CRY, MCI).
As an aside, the arrival of Trippier and 22-year-old Austrian centre-back Kevin Wimmer places uncertainty over Eric Dier’s prospects next season. The versatile defender – who bagged two goals and three assists last term – enjoyed a security of starts in the second half of 2014/15, yet was primarily tasked with covering at right-back. Elsewhere, Tottenham’s recent business has pushed former MLS starlet Yedlin further down the pecking order, with some reports suggesting that he’s poised for a loan switch to another Premier League outfit. If priced below 5.0, Yedlin would certainly pique our interest by virtue of his attacking instincts, with the Canaries opening schedule also boosting his appeal should he find his way to Carrow Road.