Mauricio Pochettino has been fairly reserved in terms of bringing new faces into his Tottenham Hotspur side this summer, but the Argentine manager is aiming to be ruthless in trying to trim his current squad down. Plenty of players have been earmarked as potential candidates to leave White Hart Lane this year, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto looks more likely to depart than most.
At 30 years old, and with 8 years worth of Premier League experience behind him, the Cameroon international might be finished at Spurs, but he doesn’t necessarily need to call time on his career in the English top flight. The following are the teams who should look at signing the full-back, especially if reports that he is available on a free transfer turn out to be correct:
Queens Park Rangers
The left-back played out last season on loan at QPR, helping the Hoops to secure promotion via the play-offs. He has vast experience playing under Harry Redknapp, a manager who is thought to admire Assou-Ekotto’s playing style, and could certainly do a job for Rangers this season.
Having brought Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker into the starting line-up already, the defence looks strong and experienced – something which the Tottenham player could only add to. The move to Loftus Road would appear to make the most sense at this early stage.
Paul Lambert’s side are especially cash-strapped this summer, after owner Randy Lerner has put the club up for sale. The Scottish manager has worked shrewdly so far this summer though, and a signing of Assou-Ekotto could prove another sensible move.
Having welcomed the grit and determination of Roy Keane into the backing staff, the left-back could bring the same qualities onto the field of play. Aston Villa is a young side and definite ‘work in process’, although they will no doubt benefit from a little extra experience at times.
In much the same way as QPR, Burnley’s attraction to Assou-Ekotto will first and foremost be his Premier League know-how. However, the club’s small budget has also been well-publicised, and Assou-Ekotto’s apparent lack of transfer fee would suit them.
The player is no longer unfamiliar with a more dogged, determined style of play either (having played for Rangers in the Championship), and he will need those qualities should Burnley become involved in a relegation tussle. It would be a coup should Sean Dyche capture him, but as the transfer window draws to a close, one never knows.
Looking a little further up the league, Liverpool might be a very outside bet to take the player off of Tottenham’s hands, considering Brendan Rodgers’ eternal search for strength in depth. The Reds have brought in Alberto Moreno and they have Jose Enrique returning to fitness, but Rodgers has been keen to cover almost every angle so far this summer, and Assou-Ekotto could give him an alternative option.
Having finalised the deal to bring Moreno to Anfield from Sevilla there is little indication that the full-back position will be strengthened any further, but with Liverpool this summer, surprises are becoming common place, and a move for the Tottenham man might not be out of the question.
The Swans have seen their promising young star Ben Davies leave the Welsh club this summer, and they might look to a free transfer for Assou Ekotto as a way of lining their squad with a little more quality ahead of next season.
Davies has, of course, made the opposite switch this summer and now plays football for Spurs. The move has meant that Neil Taylor has been reinstalled as left-back, which could be the way forward for Garry Monk. However, should the club mount a successful run in either of the cups, then they might be thankful for a few more options, and Assou-Ekotto could prove to be a very good option.