Tottenham have announced the signing of Real Madrid’s Sergio Regulión.
The defender arrived in North London for €30 million (£27.5 million) on a five year deal, with Spurs winning the race to secure the signature of the highly rated Spaniard ahead of Premier League rivals Man United, who also held a strong interest in the left back.
The Red Devils were looking to strengthen their options at left back and saw Reguilón, who had a successful spell on loan at Sevilla last year, as the ideal candidate to compete with Luke Shaw for a starting berth.
The stumbling block for United was Real Madrid’s insistence on including a buy back clause in the deal, whilst Los Blancos also wanted a payment of €30 million up front, with United only willing to do a deal of €20 million plus add ons.
Their hesitance allowed Spurs to swoop in, with the Lilywhites accepting a buy back clause active for two years, believed to be in the region of €45 million depending on various incentives, according to the Guardian.
Regulión is an attack minded full back who joined Real Madrid’s La Fabrica academy at the age of eight and worked his way up through the various youth ranks.
He got his first taste of senior football in 2015 when he was loaned out to Segunda Division B outfit UD Logroñés for the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign. He featured sparingly, making just nine appearances before returning for a more successful loan spell the following season.
He played 30 games as a more advanced left winger and scored eight goals, establishing himself as a regular in the third division.
On his return to Madrid, he featured heavily in the Castilla side, signing a new contract in 2018 after catching the eye, before new boss Julen Lopetegui promoted him to the first team for pre season ahead of the 2018-19 season.
He made his debut in October 2018, starting in a 3-0 defeat to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League before making his league debut in a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid the following month.
He would go on to register a further 11 appearances for Los Blancos, as Marcelo’s form dipped, but the return of Zidane as manager slowed his progress.
Frenchman and fellow left back Ferland Mendy was brought in from Lyon to replace the ageing Marcelo, pushing Regulión down the pecking order given Mendy’s terrific form for Los Blancos.
A reunion with Lopetegui at Sevilla for the 2019-20 campaign allowed Regulión to get regular minutes at the highest level, and he certainly grasped that chance.
He enjoyed an impressive season, featuring in 31 games, scoring twice as Los Palanganas finished fourth in La Liga. He also played a key role in helping them to win the Europa League for the third time in the last five years.
Regulión is made very much in the mould of a modern full back, sound defensively but devastating driving forward. He created 40 chances in the 2019-20 season, the fourth best in Europe’s top five leagues for full backs under the age of 23.
This is an interesting stat considering this was the Spaniard’s first full campaign at the highest level.
He was named in the Europa League team of the season and won his first cap for Spain in the recent international break, starting in the Nations League victory over Ukraine.
He will certainly be an upgrade on Spurs’ current options at left back, Welshman Ben Davies who is solid yet unspectacular, particularly going forward and the engimatic Danny Rose, who has been told to train with the Under 23s after returning from a loan spell at Newcastle.
Real Madrid’s insistence on including a buy back clause highlight that they value Regulion’s clear potential, and don’t want to lose him forever.
They may well exercise the clause if he impresses in London, as he could be the ideal heir to replace Mendy in a few years, with the Frenchman already 25 and often struggling with niggling injuries.
The buy back clause could be a cause for concern for Tottenham, but in the short term (and Mourinho is well known for making signings for the here and now) it represents a good deal for Spurs as they look to transform an ageing squad, which has grown stale with a lack of signings in recent seasons.
Like Doherty on the right, Regulión will be tasked with being a creative outlet on the left, linking up with Son and putting in crosses for Kane to attack. He will also be asked to do his bit defensively, and working under a defensive minded coach like Mourinho would no doubt aid this part of his game.
He may need some time to adapt to the physicality and speed of the Premier League, but for a player with a good injury record and such great potential he should shine in England.
Liverpool have shown the significance of attacking, mobile full backs in the modern game and the combination of Doherty and Regulión should excite Tottenham fans as much as the pairing of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold on Merseyside.