West Brom defender is poor fit for Tottenham

Ahmed Hegazi was a solid defender for West Brom this season, but he’s not good enough on the ball to thrive at Tottenham.

If Tottenham do ultimately part with Toby Alderweireld this summer then Spurs will certainly need to purchase a centre back to replace him. Don’t expect that defender to be West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi. He has the talent to play in the Premier League, but he’s a poor stylistic fit to play under Mauricio Pochettino.

ESPN reports that Tottenham are eyeing Hegazi along with West Ham and Leicester City. It’s a virtual certainty he’ll be leaving West Brom this summer since they’ve suffered relegation. For some Premier League club, he can be a quality, inexpensive signing.

Based on his overall talent it might be reasonable to think Spurs should be that club. Hegazi was certainly West Brom’s best defender on the season. He started all 38 Premier League matches for the club and earned a very solid Whoscored.com player rating average of 6.98. It’s easy to see that number rising if he were surrounded by more talent.

The problem with Hegazi is that he’s too much of an old school defender to play for Spurs. He does a great job breaking up play and blocking the ball with his massive frame. What he doesn’t do a very good job of, is playing the ball forward to help unlock his attacking teammates.

That might be Alderweireld’s best skill. His proclivity to play long diagonals to his attackers is a huge benefit to the club who employs him. It frequently allowed Tottenham’s attacking midfielders to attack the opposition before they really had an opportunity to set up their defense. It’s crucial that Pochettino find another centre back who can fill that void if Alderweireld does leave.

That’s precisely why Matthijs de Ligt is the team’s top target at the position. Even at the tender age of 18, he’s already shown an immense ability to play with the ball at his feet. He isn’t a finished product, but he has the natural talent to be even better than Alderweireld in that capacity.

Even if Tottenham can’t successfully win the race for de Ligt, look for them to focus on finding a new central defender who can really set up the attack from the back. Ahmed Hegazi has plenty of talents, but that isn’t one of them. That’s why he’ll be nothing more than a backup option for Spurs this summer.