Tottenham’s season has been dealt yet another hammer blow as it has emerged that defender Emerson Royal is set to spend the next six weeks sidelined after undergoing surgery.
The Brazilian defender had begun turning in some of his better performances in a Tottenham shirt following the arrival of Pedro Porro from Sporting, ostensibly to take his place.
And the 24-year-old’s form had been rewarded with a recall to the Brazilian national team for the March international against Morocco, but he suffered a knee injury while on duty with the Selecao, which has since been confirmed to require surgery.
This will leave him out for around six weeks, with the possibility that he may not feature again for the Lilywhites this season in what will prove a damning blow to Christian Stellini’s hopes of securing a top 4 spot.
As it stands, Spurs have just one recognised right-back, January signing Porro, though Japhet Tanganga could also play there if necessary.
The news also hands a blow to any fans hopeful of a move away from a 3-4-3 system that was used by Antonio Conte until his departure, with Emerson the only real option at a traditional right-back position.
The same can be said for the other side, where Ben Davies is also unlikely to feature again this season after suffering a hamstring injury against Southampton, in what proved to be Conte’s final game in charge.
With Ryan Sessengnon also sidelined and Ivan Perisic more useful further up the pitch, a switch to a back four now seems nigh-on impossible for Stellini.
Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and Richarlison are also all sidelined through injury at present, and their return dates are unknown, though first choice shot-stopper Hugo Lloris has returned to training after missing two months of the season through injury.