Conte could sell three Spurs defenders

Pundit and former footballer Noel Whelan believes Antonio Conte could sell all three of Tottenham Hotspur’s right wing-backs in the next two windows as none of them have been good enough.

What’s the word?

Spurs have struggled in that position, with Emerson Royal receiving heavy criticism for his performances. Meanwhile, Matt Doherty has been in and out of the side and Djed Spence has hardly featured.

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Conte could sign a new player to replace them, with Pedro Porro of Sporting linked, and Whelan believes the Italian could even be tempted to get rid of all three of his current options.

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan revealed that he would not be surprised to see all three go as he believes the Spurs boss does not trust them.

He said: “The performances in this position just aren’t up to standard.

“It’s not just Emerson Royal, it’s all of them. Doherty may have scored against Palace, but his future is still under big question marks.

“We’ve said with whoever is playing right wing-back – Conte really isn’t happy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them all leave this year.

“It’s always been the question mark, and none of these players have set the right benchmark. It’s all over the place.

“It doesn’t surprise me to hear that Royal might be on the way out.

“Conte is trying to generate the funds he needs to overhaul what is probably the most fragile area of their squad.”

Unfair appraisal?

Although criticism of Royal and Doherty is largely justified as neither have impressed in North London, Spence has simply not been given a fair chance to prove himself.

The 22-year-old arrived from Middlesbrough in the summer for around £20m after delivering some standout performances for Nottingham Forest last season, but is yet to start for Spurs in any competition and has hardly been seen the pitch.

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Given how the other two options in his position have performed, there is surely nothing to lose by giving him a start to see what he could do, but Conte clearly does not trust the young defender as he was left out of the starting lineup against League One outfit Portsmouth at the weekend, and a move away would be ideal to get his career back on track.

If he is sold prematurely and excels elsewhere, then Conte’s early judgement of the Englishman could well come back to bite him.