Football News

Archie Gray to Tottenham transfer: Alexander-Arnold-esque option for Ange?

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:30, 2 July 2024

Archie Gray credits his love for Ange Postecoglou as the reason behind the decision to leave his boyhood club, Leeds United, and join Tottenham.

The 18-year-old defender-cum-midfielder becomes Spurs first acquisition of the 2024 summer transfer window, reportedly signing for a £30 million fee after a move to Brentford fell through.

Born into Leeds footballing royalty — father (Andy), grandfather (Frank), and great-uncle (Eddie) all played for the Elland Road club — he made 52 appearances for the Peacocks and was part of their unsuccessful promotion-chasing side last season.

It was, however, a breakthrough campaign for the England U21 international. He switched between playing in midfield and at right-back, drawing comparisons to several successful Premier League players who have excelled in similar dual roles.

“The manager clearly knows that Gray is a utility player. If he wants to bring Ilia Gruev in there but doesn’t want to lose Archie Gray, I think there’s an element of that hybrid midfield role as well,” former Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson commented.

“We see that so often in the Premier League, we see with Rico Lewis, John Stones, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and I think there’s an element that the manager thinks at that right-back position, Gray can do that.

“He’s a clever enough footballer to do it. Defensively, a couple of times, he gets caught out but it gives him that opportunity to push into midfield and play that role.”

Having made his professional debut under Daniel Farke, the recently departed Leeds head coach felt that as their 2023/24 campaign was progressing, Gray’s best position is midfield, either in the traditional sense or as an inverted full-back.

“He can play the full-back position,” he stated. “I think his natural position is obviously the midfield, but we will see how his position develops over the next months and years. Also to play a bit more like an inverted fullback.”

Gray’s development will now continue in North London, and with plenty of reasons to join Tottenham, one stood above the rest.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said in his first interview on the Tottenham website. “I’m a massive Celtic fan, so I love him [Ange Postecoglou], my whole family love him.”

Understandably, there will be concerns about regular playing time with Gray joining last season’s fifth-placed Premier League side. The expectation is that he’ll start as a squad player seeking to dislodge Pedro Porro or win a place in Tottenham’s midfield, but such a challenge doesn’t faze him.

“Obviously, I see myself as a midfielder, that’s my ideal position,” he added. “But I don’t put myself down to one position and I think I’m a versatile player and I can play in a lot of positions on the pitch, which is really effective when you’ve got so many competitions and so many games this year.

“You don’t want to have too big of a squad and I think it can be really, really helpful for the team to be really versatile and I’m not bothered about where I play.”