When news broke after the Newcastle defeat back in August that Younes Kaboul faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines, it wasn’t the ideal start for Tottenham Hotspur head coach Andre Villas-Boas. Since then, the likes of Gallas, Caulker and most recently Dawson have come in and done a decent job partnering Jan Vertonghen, and sometimes even playing together while the Belgian had a stint at left back in Benny’s absence.
However, with the big Frenchman recently returning to training, a much anticipated return to action could be on the horizon in the next few weeks. When the time does come, the return of Kaboul could almost be like a new signing in itself as we gear towards the business end of the season.
You would think that if Andre Villas-Boas had everyone to choose from, Vertonghen and Kaboul would likely be his first choice pairing. Many Spurs fans have been excited about the possibility of Kaboul and Super Jan partnering up together at the heart of the Tottenham defence.
It will take the Frenchman a little time to get anywhere near the level of fitness and performance he was at last season, particularly with a few new faces in the side since his last taste of action, but it will give players and fans a huge lift just to see his name on the team sheet.
However, where Kaboul might slot back into the Spurs side may not be a foregone conclusion. While he has undoubtedly made a huge impact as a centre back since returning to the Lane, it’s his versatility that could make the difference to our champion’s league aspirations for the remainder of the season. When Spurs secured a top four finish back in 2010, the French international played a pivotal role in the latter stages of the campaign as a right back.
Although Kaboul and Vertonghen is surely going to be the likely centre half pairing for years to come, on Dawson’s recent performances it would possibly be slightly harsh to drop him. With that in mind, could Kaboul potentially challenge Kyle Walker to occupy the right back spot once again? Also, not completely out of the question, could be a possible stint as a holding midfielder, particularly when the likes of Parker and, arguably more so, Dembele are needing a rest? In Sandro’s absence, he certainly provides another option in that position.
While it would be harsh to say we haven’t missed Kaboul, Villas-Boas has steered an often make-shift defence to within one point of Chelsea (at the time of writing). The return of Benny, coupled with the acquisition of Lewis Holtby have significantly improved the side already and if we can avoid any more injuries between now and the end of the campaign, Spurs will be well and truly in the race for a top four, or potentially even top three finish.
However, it is the return of our colossal French centre back that could ultimately prove a decisive factor in champion’s league football returning to White Hart Lane once again.