Tottenham Hotspur right-back Matt Doherty faces a battle to save his career at the club as manager Jose Mourinho is thought to be unconvinced by the 29-year-old.
Doherty joined last summer from Wolverhampton Wanderers in a deal worth around £15m but has managed just nine starts in the Premier League so far, with the rejuvenated Serge Aurier instead commanding a regular spot in the lineup.
In Aurier’s absence, Mourinho has even preferred 21-year-old centre-back Japhet Tanganga to Doherty, and ESPN believe that is because the boss has been unimpressed with the new signing ever since his arrival.
Doherty’s last start came in January’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, in which he was deployed as a makeshift left wing-back, and Mourinho was incredibly vocal with his displeasure towards the defender’s performance during the game.
It is thought that tensions are rising behind the scenes, with Mourinho unimpressed with Doherty’s lack of progress since joining Spurs, and it’s led to the boss considering putting Doherty on the transfer list in the summer.
Of course, that all depends on whether Mourinho is still at the club in the summer. His coaching methods have divided the dressing room, and with results in a downward spiral, the club have already set their sights on RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann as their preferred replacement.
It is also not known whether chairman Daniel Levy would agree to Doherty’s departure just 12 months after spending £15m on him. The 29-year-old is under contract until 2024 and Levy will be reluctant to take any loss on Doherty if he does choose to sell.
The issue with Doherty is yet another problem with the squad that Levy must sort out. There are already concerns over Mourinho’s use of both Gareth Bale and Dele Alli, while left-back Danny Rose has been sent to the reserves after a January move to Trabzonspor fell through.
Amid all the chaos behind the scenes, Spurs have been in freefall recently. Seen as title contenders just a few months ago, Mourinho’s side have fallen to ninth in the Premier League table after a run of five defeats in their last six games.
Levy is keen to avoid changing his manager in mid-season and hopes to give Mourinho until the end of the season to turn things around, although he may be forced into action if results don’t improve.