The Athletic have revealed that Antonio Conte decided late in the transfer window that he would rather keep Emerson Royal as a backup to Pedro Porro and let go of Matt Doherty instead.
Doherty had been Conte’s first choice at right wing-back until the clash against Arsenal in mid-January and until that point, it seemed as though Emerson was the likelier of the two players to make way if a new right wing-back came through the door.
However, Emerson came into the starting lineup for the trip to Etihad and delivered a disciplined display despite Spurs falling to a 4-2 loss and the Brazilian kept his place in the starting eleven for the win at Craven Cottage.
To some Spurs fans’ surprise, Tottenham decided to terminate Doherty’s contract on transfer deadline day, thus allowing him to seal a permanent move to Atletico Madrid.
Some may have assumed that it was the potential higher resale value of Emerson that prevented the North London club from letting go of the former Real Betis man but that is not the case if The Athletic’s update is to be believed.
The report states that both Conte and Fabio Paratici had decided that the 24-year-old would be the better backup to Porro, thus leaving Doherty surplus to requirements.
Emerson certainly repaid Conte’s trust with the impressive defensive display he delivered yesterday to help Spurs overcome Manchester City 1-0.
Spurs Web Opinion
I think the issue with keeping Spence or Doherty as backups was that they were both too similar to Porro. Emerson offers defensive solidity at right wing-back that the other options do not and could thus prove a useful asset when playing against top teams as he proved yesterday.