Stoke City have finalised the Kevin Wimmer transfer from Tottenham for £18mil. He has struggled to make much of an impact in England since he joined Spurs from Cologne in 2015 for around £6mil. So Spurs have decided to cash in on the Austrian defender given his lack of game time. Stoke were clearly enthusiastic buyers. So was this a good move?
We take a look at the transfer from all perspectives.
Nationality: 8 caps
Position: central defender, can play left-back
Transfer Fee: £18mil
Contract Length: 5 years
2016/17 League Stats: 4 starts (1 sub appearance)
There was an inevitability about Wimmer leaving Tottenham. In his first season in England he managed 9 league starts but instead of kicking on, last season, Wimmer only managed 4 starts. His involvement at Spurs looked to be declining rather than improving.
Spurs do have arguably the best central defence partnership in the league with Alderweireld and Vertonghen though so it was never going to be easy breaking through. This partnership goes far beyond Tottenham too. They play together for Belgium whilst they were also both educated in Holland with Ajax and played together there before they both found their way to White Hart Lane.
So it was asking a lot of the Austrian.
In Wimmer’s first season he benefited from Vertonghen missing a few games through injury. Yet last season he couldn’t take advantage of Alderweireld missing a similar amount of games as Dier was preferred in defence, pushing Wimmer even further down the pecking order.
In all but 1 of Wimmer’s appearances last season, he featured only when Spurs reverted to a 3 man centre defence. Pochettino, deciding to only use him when he had a specific game plan in mind, often against the bigger teams. Whilst his other appearance came at left back when first and second choice, Danny Rose and Ben Davies were both ruled out.
In the end, his already limited opportunities at Spurs were only arriving because of very specific circumstances.
This summer Spurs signed Colombian centre-back Davinson Sanchez from Ajax and Argentine youngster Juan Foyth, meaning Wimmer’s opportunities would have probably been nonexistent.
Wimmer has been sold for nearly three times what Spurs paid. So the impressive negotiating ability of Dan Levy has been on show again. Considering Wimmer has only managed 13 league starts in 2 years it’s impressive that they’ve managed to treble their money but also shows how much prices have gone up in only a couple of years.
With Wimmer’s addition Stoke look even stronger in what was already a competitive area of the pitch. Stoke now look to have not only a decent starting central defence but also good depth.
Impressive Chelsea youngster Kurt Zouma has joined on loan for the season. There’s high hopes for his future both with Chelsea and France, he has the raw materials to become a top defender. Hughes has done some shrewd business getting a player of Zouma’s quality in on loan for the season.
Martins Indi has returned on a permanent deal after a good loan spell with Stoke last season in which he became an important player to the club. Geoff Cameron is also a possible and consistent performing option at the back. Not to mention one of Stoke’s most influential performers, captain Ryan Shawcross.
Stoke’s depth in centre defence also gives them tactical flexibility. Last season Hughes experimented with Stoke’s formation and this season they look to have continued with a fashionable 3 man central defence. This should not only give the defenders more opportunities but also suit Wimmer.
In the few games he played last season he showed he is suited to play in a back 3 and particularly in the left sided centre back position. I strongly suspect that will be Hughes’ plan on how to use him too. As a left footer he’s a more natural fit.
Austria are in a difficult position in their World Cup qualifying group but despite sitting in fourth they are only four points off first so qualification isn’t out of the question. With second placed team likely to be involved in the play offs, they still have a lot to play for. Far from guaranteed his place in the team Wimmer wouldn’t have wanted to risk a third season on the bench in World Cup year.
This transfer makes a lot of sense for all parties.
Spurs have offloaded a player who’s involvement with the first team was only diminishing. Stoke have added another good Premiership player to their squad and to an important area of the pitch. Shawcross has had his share of injury problems over the years.
Wimmer is now entering an important period of his career and really needs to be playing regularly. At 24 years old he is no longer a youngster so needs to start performing on a consistent basis especially after 2 seasons spent largely on the bench. It’s important for his international aspirations too.
In respect to who got the best deal, Spurs have made a really good profit. Even in this inflated market it’s hard to understand how Wimmer’s value has trebled when he spent 2 years on the bench.
Stoke have definitely overpaid. They won’t be too worried though as long as Wimmer can keep putting in strong, solid performances week after week.
Which is what I reckon they’ll get.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) August 29, 2017
Will he start for Stoke? Is Stoke City stacked with centre-back talent or not? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.