Gary Cahill is good, but not a good partner for Michael Dawson (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers are having deep discussions about a move that would see Gary Cahill join Spurs, according to Sky Sports. Most of the talk about a Cahill move has been about him moving to Spurs' North London rivals, Arsenal. That's not to say that Tottenham haven't been linked to the center back. They have many times, most notable in January, but Arsenal have been linked to him far more this summer. Maybe that's a sign. Maybe Spurs should let him go to the Gunners. More accurately, maybe they should pass on Cahill.
It's not that Cahill cannot defend. Far from it, in fact. He's a very good defender and at 25 years old is not an old timer that Spurs hope to get a year or two out of. He can be very good in the center of defense for five years and continue a fine career. He reads the game well and is dominant air. That is both defending and attacking, where he has shown to be one of the best in England at getting involved on set pieces to score his fair share of goals.
So Cahill is a good central defender. You can't have enough of those, right? Why wouldn't he be a good fit for Spurs then? Why on earth would Tottenham not want a good player like him?
This is one of those situations where you're looking for the right fit, or more accurately in this situation, the right pairing. Cahill is a good defender, but he is of the same mold as Spurs' current central defenders. He is good in the air. He reads the game decently as well. He also is prone to occasional mental errors and most importantly, he doesn't turn and run well.
The consensus is that Michael Dawson is Tottenham's best central defender when Ledley King's knees are acting like Ledley King's knees. Dawson is a good defender, but he has trouble playing a high line. When balls are played in over his head he has trouble getting turned around and running on to it. That's eerily similar to Cahill, ain't it?
When Spurs' defense, and Dawson, were at their best it was when King paired with Dawson in the center. Tottenham don't need someone as good as King to pair with Dawson (not that Spurs wouldn't mind someone as good as King or even, you know, King), but they need a more mobile partner for Dawson. They need someone who can play better with a high line. They need someone who moves backward as well as he does forward and up.
The type of player Spurs need is not the type of player Cahill is. Especially at what is likely to be far upwards of £10 million, it doesn't make sense for Spurs to sign Cahill when he's not the right kind of player for them. A fine player, yes, but not the kind of player that the team needs to truly improve their defense. They need a partner for Dawson, not just another good defender.