Replacing Cody Drameh: 3 right-wing-backs Luton Town could consider
Luton Town found themselves in a spot of bother late on in the January transfer window when talk surrounding James Bree and a potential move to Southampton first surfaced, with the 25-year-old eventually joining Nathan Jones at St Mary’s as they prepared to battle for Premier League survival.
Of course, the proactive nature of the club’s recruitment team meant that Luton fans did not need to worry, swiftly reacting to Bree’s departure by securing a loan move for Leeds United defender Cody Drameh. Somewhat of an unknown entity at the point of arrival, although he had enjoyed an impressive 2021/22 campaign at Cardiff City where he scooped the prestigious Player of the Season award at the South Wales club, Town fans would have been forgiven for not really having a clue how his temporary Hatters stint would play out.
His first game in Town colours was a 1-0 victory against his former temporary employers Cardiff, immediately proving to be a fantastic 1v1 defender and a real source of athleticism. Quickly adapting to the demands of a club chasing promotion to the Premier League, Drameh grew in importance as the season wore on, registering back-to-back assists in a victory over Bristol City and a draw against Sunderland
Interestingly enough, the Hatters lost just one league game in which Drameh was involved in, and that was the 1-0 defeat to Burnley at Kenilworth Road – a game where he was forced off because of injury early in the first half.
It was his endeavour, defensive skillset and relentlessness that paved the way for Drameh to become an integral part of the club’s eventual success, and the best example of all of this coming together was during Luton’s victory over Sunderland in the second leg of the semi-final where he pressed high up the pitch, forced an error and won a corner.
Looking ahead to the upcoming Premier League campaign and Drameh is reportedly a target at Kenilworth Road, however, it is far from an easy deal to complete.
A report from the Daily Mail in January claimed that Burnley held an interest in the young defender, and it has since emerged that the Clarets have had a bid rejected in their pursuit of the 21-year-old. Fellow Premier League club Brentford are also admirers of Drameh, as detailed in a report from Lancs Live.
In early June, an update from transfer guru Fabrizio Romano
Who could Luton Town look at as a Cody Drameh alternative?
When analysing what Luton need in a Drameh replacement, it is important to consider what the wing-back brought to Kenilworth Road and why he was successful in Town colours.
When looking at the data and combining it with what was seen during his time in Bedfordshire, it is evident that Drameh provided a reliable defensive service, as backed up by the fact that he ranked in the top 1% for blocks per 90 when compared to Championship full-backs, whilst he was in the top 6% for tackles per 90.
He also proved to cause problems offensively speaking too, ranking in the top 17% of Championship full-backs in progressive carries per 90 and the top 13% for Successful Take-Ons.
revealed that his parent club were keen on keeping the 21-year-old around ahead of their return to the Championship, which when combined with Burnley’s willingness to table a bid, makes it rather difficult for the Hatters to secure Drameh’s permanent signing.
Subsequently, it would seem that the Hatters will be seeking and assessing potential Drameh alternatives, so here, we take a look at three right-wing-backs who would fit the bill at Kenilworth Road as Luton head for the Premier League…
If intending to go down a more attacking route and look for a right-wing-back who can make an impact in the final third, then FC Twente’s Joshua Brenet has to be a consideration.
The 29-year-old ranked in the top 1% for non-penalty xG, top 7% for shot-creating actions and top 2% for non-penalty goals. Looking at the attacking service he provides a little further, Brenet also ranked in the top 5% of full-backs in the Dutch top flight for touches in the attacking penalty area per 90 and top 9% for Successful Take-Ons. Evidently a player who thrives as more of a forward threat, he ranks in the bottom 18% and 7% for tackles and clearances (all per 90).
Heading into the Premier League where questions will constantly be asked of the defence, it would represent somewhat of a risk to pursue a player with limited defensive capabilities, although, under a manager in Rob Edwards who has been successful at both Forest Green Rovers and Luton by deploying wing-backs who are required to have a high starting position, he could at least be an option to explore.
Option 2 is a player that Luton fans will probably be aware of from the impact he made during Nottingham Forest’s promotion from the Championship during the 2021/22 campaign, a season that earned him a move to Tottenham Hotspur. Struggling to pave his way through to the first-team, a loan move to Ligue 1 club Rennes came to fruition during the January transfer window and a further temporary stint could be deemed necessary as he continues his progression.
This is where the Hatters could come in.
Spence provides a different kind of service to Brenet but he is still a menace who is particularly impressive in his 1v1 attacking duels. The former Middlesbrough player ranked in the top 3% amongst all full-backs in last season’s Ligue 1 for Successful Take-Ons and found himself in the top 4% when it came to pass completion.
Ranking in the top 12% and 24% for blocks and clearances per 90, it is clear to see that Spence could meet the demands from a defensive standpoint too.
Costinha has to be the top pick from the three listed here, with the 23-year-old at a fantastic age to continue his development and the newly-generated Premier League tag puts the Hatters in an exciting position on the transfer front. The full-back currently plays for Casa Pia and has a very well-rounded set of attributes. when it comes to both the attacking and defensive sides of the game.
Proving to be a player that gets involved in the final third, Costinha ranked in the top 12% of 2022/23 Primeira Liga full-backs for non-penalty xG, the top 23% for progressive passes received per 90. and the top 24% for shots per 90.
He also ranked above average for Successful Take-Ons and progressive carries, proving to be positive and brave when on the ball. It is the defensive numbers that particularly stand out with the 23-year-old ranking in the top 1% for blocks per 90 and top 7% for clearances per 90, whilst he also proved to be one of the more aerially dominant defenders in Portugal’s top-flight last time out.
Signing Drameh permanently would be a fantastic bit of business but if the Hatters are unable to, then Costinha is someone who possesses a similar skillset, whilst he could prove to be a fair bit cheaper than the Leeds man.