Tottenham Hotspur shocked everyone on Monday evening after confirming they’d terminated the contract of full-back Matt Doherty.
The Republic of Ireland international sealed an initial loan move to La Liga giants Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. Doherty had fallen down the pecking order under Antonio Conte after suffering a knee injury at the end of last season.
Spurs manager Antonio Conte had opted to use Emerson Royal at right wing-back, while they’d completed the signing of Sporting CP star Pedro Porro earlier in the day.
He made 71 appearances in total, although Conte claimed he wasn’t seeing him in the ‘right way’ to start Premier League games in October.
Spurs announced later on Tuesday they’d agreed to terminate Doherty’s contract so he could join Atletico on a permanent deal. An official statement reads: “We have mutually agreed to the termination of Matt Doherty’s contract to enable him to join another club.
“Signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August, 2020, the Republic of Ireland international made 71 appearances for us in all competitions, scoring three goals.
“We should like to thank Matt for his service and wish him well for the future.”
We know the question on your mind. Why did Spurs release a player they spent £13.4 million on just three years ago?
It all comes down to the number of players they currently have out on loan at clubs outside the United Kingdom.
The maximum number of international loans is eight, a figure Spurs hit over the last few days after letting Bryan Gil join Sevilla and Djed Spence join Rennes.
Spurs already had six players out on loan prior to the January transfer window. left-back Sergio Reguilon is currently plying his trade with Atletico, while Giovani Lo Celso is also in La Liga with Villarreal.
Midfielder Harry Winks is currently with Sampdoria in Serie A, while Tanguy Ndombele could win the title in Italy with Napoli. Destiny Udogie signed for Spurs in the summer from Udinese but is spending the rest of this season with his former club.
Finally, centre-back Joe Rodon is at Rennes, so he’ll have Spence to keep him company. Doherty going out on loan would’ve made nine, which is against FIFA rules.
Spurs decided to terminate Doherty’s contract, set to expire in 2024, as a gesture of goodwill.
In addition to Porro, Spurs have also signed Arnaut Danjuma on a season-long loan from Villarreal. Conte’s men are currently fifth in the Premier League and return to action against Manchester City on Sunday.