Tottenham add ‘Japanese left-footed center-back’ to shortlist to fill van der Penne void

Tottenham are looking to add a center back in the January winter transfer window, and Japanese center back Koki Machida (26-Winnion Saint-Gilles) is on their shortlist.

British media outlet ‘Team Talk’ reported on January 22 (KST), “Tottenham’s lack of defensive depth has been highlighted by the recent injury to Micky van der Penn (22). They are looking to sign a center back in the January winter transfer window and have included Japanese center back Koki Machida as a target.”

Tottenham lost two of their first-choice center backs against Chelsea. Cristian Romero, 25, was sent off for a direct challenge on Enzo Fernandez () with a planted tackle.

Van der Penn then suffered a hamstring (muscle in the back of the thigh) injury while sprinting and is expected to return next year. Romero is expected to return soon from a three-game suspension, but van der Penn’s absence will be felt.

Tottenham played Eric Dier, 29, and Ben Davies, 30, in a center back combination against Wolverhampton last time out. But a series of lapses in defense in second-half stoppage time led to two goals and a 1-2 defeat.

Spurs, who had started the season with the best start to a season, dropped to fourth place with their second straight defeat.

As a result, Tottenham manager Enze Postecoglou is looking to sign a center back in the winter transfer window. According to the media, there are seven candidates for the position, with Japan international center back Machida’s name being mentioned.

Machida is a center back who plays in the Belgian league. At 6-foot-3, Machida is considered to be a left-footed center back with a high utility value, similar to Van der Penn. Tottenham’s internal scouts believe that Machida would be a good fit for Postecoglou’s up-the-line style of play.

Postecoglou has also been a big fan of Asian players since his time at Celtic and was previously the head coach of Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan. Therefore, it is not out of the question that Tottenham could make a move for Machida this transfer window.

Machida is currently under contract with Winnion until 2026. He has made 16 appearances for Gwynion this season and is their starting center back.

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