If Miloš Veljković Leaves in January, Spurs Should Promote Dominic Ball

Jul 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino during training in advance of the 2015 MLS All Star Game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino during training in advance of the 2015 MLS All Star Game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Dominic Ball is currently enjoying a fruitful season-long loan spell with Rangers in the Scottish Championship. But the Spurs loanee says he still has room to grow and improve.

It’s already been confirmed that Miloš Veljković won’t renew his contract with Tottenham once the January transfer window opens. To lose another young talent after selling Ismail Azzoui, a 17-year-old Belgian winger to VfL Wolfsburg on August 31st, hurt Spurs’ youth academy at the center-back position just a bit.

The key words are “just a bit” because of the amount of players at center-half in Tottenham’s youth academy, their second team, on loan and even their first team.

RELATED: Miloš Veljković Declines New Tottenham Contract

From the highly impressive 17-year-old Cameron Carter-Vickers, to the aforementioned Miloš Veljković (20), to a relatively unknown Christian Maghoma (18) who is on loan with Yeovil Town in League Two and Dominic Ball (20), on loan with Rangers in the Scottish Championship. Not to mention 23-year-old Kevin Wimmer who is patiently waiting to get more appearances this season.

In total even with Veljković leaving, that’s four center-backs behind Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, meaning Spurs are quite stacked at this position.

However, because of the aforementioned Belgian partnership between Alderweireld and Vertonghen at the heart of Tottenham’s defense, and feeling ready to contribute now, Miloš Veljković feels a move in January is best for his career after declining a contract extension. But if Veljković leaves, what makes Dominic Ball a better promotion candidate instead of the Serbian defender?

Before we get to that, here are some things that Pochettino must consider for Tottenham heading into the January transfer window and even next summer:

  • Federico Fazio is most likely sold in January as he seems to be no longer needed
  • Kevin Wimmer is a future starter but will need a partner to work with
  • When Fazio is sold, Spurs will have Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Wimmer only
  • A veteran center-back isn’t necessary, that’s why Federico Fazio was signed
  • Not many signings will happen since the team is filled up at most positions

Now that those five points have been laid out, let’s go over why Dominic Ball would be a good option as Spurs’ fourth-choice center-back.

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Dominic Ball, since joining Rangers in the Scottish Championship has gotten something that Miloš Veljković couldn’t in two separate loan spells — first team minutes.

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Getting starts is important for youth players and Ball has been able to get them this season while on loan with Mark Warburton’s Rangers’ team. The 20-year-old England defender has made 12 appearances, helped the Gers earn six clean sheets as a starter in all competitions and nailed down a starting center-back spot making Dominic Ball more ready at this point in his career than say Miloš Veljković.

Not only that, but playing games and earning wins is just the tip of the iceberg for Dominic Ball. He wants to improve his game even more and do better than he has so far this season. Here is the 20-year-old center-back after a 4-0 win over Dumbarton on December 1st, three days ago:

"“As a whole team we thrive for clean sheets and a lot of goals and today we got that. I was quite pleased with my performance but there are still a lot of things I could have done better and that is the way I am, I like to look at some of my weaknesses and work on them in training. I will look at the game after this and I will try and improve but overall I thought everyone did excellently tonight.”"

Ball epitomizes a hard working mentality and isn’t satisfied that easily. That doesn’t mean that Miloš Veljković doesn’t think like that too, but for the sake of argument, Veljković’s two loan spells combined between Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic weren’t good. The 20-year-old Serbian defender only appeared in six games: four starts, two substitution appearances and a season-ending shoulder injury with Charlton Athletic. Those numbers speak loudly and shows that Miloš Veljković still needs more time to develop.

That’s why it’s puzzling to see that the Serbian center-back refused a contract extension. While Veljković might consider himself ready to contribute to Tottenham’s season now, it’s too early — premature even when you look at what he went through last term. It wouldn’t be surprising if Pochettino wants to see more this season from Veljković before getting a chance with Spurs’ first team.

Spurs rate Miloš Veljković very highly and sees him as a future starter but he’s a step or two below Dominic Ball when it comes to first team minutes while on loan.

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Since returning to full fitness this year after suffering an injury last term, Veljković hasn’t gone out on loan because clubs — despite being interested — haven’t fully agreed with Mauricio Pochettino to give the 20-year-old Serbian an extended run in the starting eleven if he were to be loaned out again.

Therefore, Veljković has spent the 2015-16 season with Spurs’ second team where he has made eight appearances and was named captain in half of those games. With all that’s happened: winning the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, captaining Tottenham’s Under-21 team, two failed loan spells, perhaps Miloš Veljković is ready. But compared to Dominic Ball? No. Ball could step in as the fourth-choice center-back and become Kevin Wimmer’s partner if he gets promoted early when Federico Fazio is sold.