Emerson Royal could make his Tottenham debut on Saturday afternoon following his £26.7million move from Barcelona on transfer deadline day.
The Brazilian right-back became Spurs’ fifth and final signing of the recently-concluded summer transfer window, with Serge Aurier leaving the north London club.
Aurier had a very mixed time with Tottenham and was often criticised for his defensive abilities, not least by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville – who played the right-back position himself.
Speaking after Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in December 2019, Neville slammed the Ivorian’s defensive performance.
“He lacks concentration. He’s turning around looking over his right shoulder, not even watching the play,” Neville said as quoted in HITC.
“He then sets off late and doesn’t sprint. Willian skips inside him and it’s a brilliant finish, but it was poor and Jose Mourinho will be furious.”
These past comments from Neville may come as something of a warning to Emerson, as the former Barcelona defender looks to settle into life in N17.
Aurier often found himself criticised by Spurs supporters and it is crucial Emerson doesn’t get off to a poor start if he does play against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Matt Doherty, Tottenham’s other right-back, could also be in contention to feature at Selhurst Park, with Nuno Espirito Santo facing a big decision.
If Emerson does make his debut, he will need to settle into English football pretty quickly, with Spurs set to play four games in the next 15 days.
The Brazilian defender recently opened up on his departure from Barcelona and admitted that the La Liga club were essentially forced in to offloading the defender.
“When I arrived I was sure that Barcelona did not want to sell me, but seeing what happened I am clear that when they signed me they already had the idea of selling me in mind,” Emerson told Spanish news outlet Marca.
“I met the leaders of the club, they began to tell me that the club’s situation was not good, that it was going through a difficult time and that it was better for them to sell.”