Wednesday 3 June 2015 00:29, UK
We give you the lowdown on Tottenham’s new signing Kevin Wimmer, the Austrian centre-back who has signed a five-year contract at White Hart Lane…
What’s his background?
Wimmer was born in the city of Wels in northern Austria. The 22-year-old’s career started at local club FC Edt, but he signed his first professional contract at LASK Linz, where he made his first team debut in Austria’s second tier in 2011. His performances attracted attention from Cologne, who agreed a €250,000 deal to take him to Germany at the end of the season.
He became a first team regular under Austrian manager Peter Stoger in the 2013/14 campaign, helping Cologne win promotion to the Bundesliga as they conceded just 20 goals in 34 games and also earning his first international cap. Wimmer kept his place in the heart of Cologne’s defence on their return to the German top flight this season, starting all but two games as they finished 12th with the fifth best defensive record in the division.
How long have Spurs been interested?
Sky Sports understands Tottenham had a long-standing interest in Wimmer, and head of recruitment and analysis Paul Mitchell was also aware of the player when he joined the club from Southampton in November. Indeed, having met with Spurs officials following his appointment, Mitchell approved a move to sign Wimmer in the January transfer window. Spurs failed to complete the deal before the deadline, however, and had to wait until the summer to get their man for a fee of £4.3million.
What type of player is he?
Wimmer has carved out a reputation as a tough, committed defender with real potential. He is left-footed, 6ft 2in tall, physically imposing, and possesses the pace to cover for his team-mates and keep up with speedy attackers. He has a strong work ethic and never shies away from a challenge, and his willingness to put his body on the line is shown by the fact he made more blocks (31) than any other Bundesliga player in 2014/15.
Wimmer has shown considerable promise in most aspects of his game, but he has room for improvement in a technical sense. While he usually appears calm in possession, he completed just 75.2 per cent of his passes in the league last season. By contrast, his centre-back partner at Cologne Dominic Maroh completed 86.3 per cent, while Spurs duo Jan Vertonghen (85.1 per cent) and Federico Fazio (80.9 per cent) were also more accurate in their distribution. Nonetheless, Wimmer is just 22 and has plenty of time to improve the weaker areas of his game.
What do they say about him?
Cologne sanctioned Wimmer’s departure with a heavy heart. General manager Jorg Schmadtke said: "Kevin has improved tremendously during his time here and has developed into an Austria international player. Of course it is with some regret that he will be leaving us, but we understand that he is getting the opportunity to play for one of the biggest traditional clubs in London.”
Wimmer is currently behind the likes of Dynamo Kiev’s Aleksandar Dragovic and Watford’s new signing Sebastian Prodl in the Austria pecking order, but manager Marcel Koller also sees his potential. “He has played exactly the same as I've seen him do already in Cologne,” Koller said in April. “On the ball he is very calm, not rushed. With his young age he still has potential to improve. He has it all.”
How will he fit in at Spurs?
Wimmer fits the profile for Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs. The Argentine is constructing a youthful, hungry squad at White Hart Lane after the club’s expensive transfer mistakes of the last two years. The likes of Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and Danny Rose all shone last season, and Wimmer is further evidence of the club’s new focus on youth. “He told me that he banks on young players,” Wimmer said of Pochettino in April.
The 22-year-old is unlikely to be thrust straight into the starting XI, but he will provide competition for fellow left-footer Vertonghen. Wimmer’s strength and athleticism will serve him well in the Premier League, and his committed attitude suggests he will happily buy in to Pochettino’s playing style.
The probable departures of Younes Kaboul and Vlad Chiriches will also put Wimmer closer to the first team. The Austria international has described joining Spurs as a “huge chance”, and he looks well equipped to make the most of it.