Danny Ings should avoid a move to Tottenham at all costs
Kevin Phillips, Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier. Aside from playing for Southampton, there’s one thing these Big Three have in common: they all have a worse goals-per-game ratio for the Saints than Danny Ings.
His incredible record of 40 goals in 81 games is a real testament to the quality he has shown over the past 18 months on the South Coast. And, after stalling his contract negotiations with the club, it looks like his time at Southampton is coming to an end.
Ings is said to be looking to trade St. Mary’s for the Champions League football opportunity and, given his record for Premier League goals since the start of the 2019/20 season (29 goals), he will not be short of contenders.
One of those contenders is Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur. While, on paper, the club matches Ing’s thirst for top-level football and the player matches Tottenham’s need for depth in the forward position, the move isn’t the right one. For both parties.
Why? Well, it’s pretty straightforward to be honest.
From Ings’ perspective, it would be a mistake to travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for playing time.
The Southampton star has struck in the middle of his flower and at 28 he has never looked so good. The forward is as deadly in front of goal as he’s ever been, exemplified by a return of around one goal every other game for the Saints.
Since his permanent move to Southampton in the summer of 2019, Ings finished last season’s Premier League campaign in second place in the table with 22 goals – one behind gold shoe winner Jamie Vardy. He followed that up with seven games in 13 this time around – clearly things are clicking in St. Mary’s.
Meanwhile, in north London, Harry Kane has been Tottenham’s main man for the better part of seven years, scoring 155 Premier League goals along the way.
While Spurs may represent a bigger stage than Southampton, Ings has to think about the minutes he would get on said stage. For a player who is at the peak of his powers to move the club for a bigger paycheck and an inevitable number two role would be disappointing, and does not appear in the character of the striker.
Looking at things from a Spurs perspective, a factor that could – or should – dissuading the club from suing Ings is the apparent inevitability that Mourinho will not get the best out of the player.
Ings flourished under the leadership of Ralph Hasenhuttl, who deploys a system based on an energetic and very pressing style of play. Ings takes the ball in the final stages of the movements and tries to recover the ball at the top of the field. The forward placed fifth in the entire league last season for times he pressed an opponent (859), while he placed 183rd for touches on the ball (including 54% in the final third ), despite the 38 campaign games.
Meanwhile, under Mourinho, Kane has visibly taken on a more creative role and been asked to dive deep into the midfield. The striker’s stats speak for themselves – 23 goal contributions this season, 11 of which are assists. Kane sits 40th in the league for times he’s pressed his opposition this campaign, when the majority of his touches have come in the middle third of the field. The Tottenham man is also averaging a strike creation rate of 3.5 per game, compared to Ings’s 2.3.
It is obvious that the two roles are completely different. The Hasenhuttl striker should constantly press and win the ball early, while retaining his best moments for the final third. While Mourinho’s number nine is a more creative role, carrying counterattacks and releasing teammates behind the baseline – something unsuitable for Ings play and therefore an inevitable waste of Spurs money.
It seems likely that Ings will be leaving St. Mary’s as soon as possible. While he may never be viewed in the same way as Le Tissier by Southampton fans, there is no doubt that he will be remembered by supporters. With many options for its next step, it would be a shame to see a few potentially fantastic years stifled by a poorly thought out move.