Tottenham’s rebuild has continued with the signing of Matt Doherty from Wolves, the Ireland international moving to north London after impressing upon his arrival in the Premier League two years ago.
Doherty has established himself as one of the best attacking full-backs in the division with his marauding runs forward from right-wing back, and Spurs will hope the 28-year-old can prove the solution to what has become a problem position at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Full-backs have arguably never been more in fashion with the attacking contributions from a once unfashionable position now vital to the league’s leading sides, but where does Doherty rank amongst the Premier League’s finest attacking defenders?
Here are the five Premier League defenders with the most goal involvements since 2018:
Cesar Azpilicueta – 14
Cesar Azpilicueta has been a model of consistency during his eight years at Chelsea, the club captain continuing to be one of the most reliable defenders in the Premier League.
The Spain international has filled a variety of roles throughout his time at Stamford Bridge including playing both centrally and at full-back, where his forward runs have often led to goal involvements for the west London out.
Azpilicueta has been directly involved in 14 goals throughout the past two seasons, including scoring two goals and providing a further six assists in the 2019/20 campaign.
The signing of the right-back from Marseille for just £7m must rank amongst Chelsea’s best pieces of business of the modern era, Azpilicueta continuing to play an important role in the Blues’ rebuild as the leader of Frank Lampard’s developing side.
Lucas Digne – 15
Ranking fourth amongst the Premier League defenders with the most goal involvements is Everton’s Lucas Digne, the French full-back’s dangerous delivery from left-back a vital component of the Merseyside club’s attacking play.
Digne has forged a reputation as one of the division’s premier full-backs since moving to Goodison Park from Barcelona, his ability as a set-piece specialist ensuring he is regularly involved in creating opportunities for his teammates.
The 27-year-old scored four goals and provided four assists during his debut season with Everton to be crowned as the club’s Players’ Player of the Season, before providing an impressive seven assists during a goalless 2019/20 campaign.
Moves to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona may not have worked out earlier in his career, but the France international has demonstrated just why he is so highly rated since moving to English football two years ago.
Matt Doherty – 16
Only two defenders have registered more goal involvements than Tottenham’s latest summer signing over the course of the past two seasons, the attacking forays of Matt Doherty a trademark of Wolves’ play since returning to the Premier League.
Often featuring as a wing-back in a back three formation, Doherty has bombed forward with unrelenting willingness in recent campaigns, being directly involved in 16 goals for the Black Country outfit.
The Ireland international has scored four league goals in each of his first two seasons in the Premier League, providing five assists during the 2018/19 season and an additional three last season.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold was the only defender to average more than Doherty’s one shot per game last season, the Dubliner’s ability to ghost into the opposition box marking him out as a unique proposition at full-back.
Andy Robertson – 25
Andy Robertson’s meteoric rise to the pinnacle of English football has been well-documented in recent seasons, the 26-year-old rising from part-time football to become a Premier League and European champion as one half of Liverpool’s flying full-back duo.
The Scotland captain is arguably one of the most complete full-backs in world football at present, combining a dependable defensive game with an abundance of creative threat during his inexhaustible runs down the Liverpool left.
Robertson has provided double figures for assists in each of the past two seasons for Jurgen Klopp’s side, whilst adding two goals to his tally this season, including a vital headed equaliser against Aston Villa.
The crossing ability of the former Hull City star also sees Robertson share a portion of the Reds’ set-piece duties, the role of the creative full-back vitally important to the reigning Premier League champions.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 30
There can be few surprised to see Trent Alexander-Arnold leading the charge as the Premier League’s best attacking defender, with many suggesting the Liverpool star has revolutionised the position of full-back over the past two seasons.
Alexander-Arnold acts as his side’s deep-lying playmaker from a position at right-back, his superb passing range and technique seeing him often architect Liverpool’s best attacking moves.
The England international’s pinpoint switches have become a staple of the Reds’ play, whilst his ability to deliver crosses with perfect precision – either from set-pieces or open play – have seen the youngster smash a whole host of records.
Alexander-Arnold broke the record for most assists by a Premier League defender in a single season during the 2018/19 campaign, before shattering his own record again this term after providing 13 goals for his teammates – a figure bettered by only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne across the entire division.
The 21-year-old also scored a career-best of four league goals last season, including fabulous free-kick efforts against Crystal Palace and Chelsea (twice).