Matt Doherty responds to ruthless Tottenham exit with his version of events after ‘unexpected’ Atletico Madrid move
Matt Doherty has broken his silence on his sudden departure from Tottenham Hotspur for Atletico Madrid on deadline day.
Doherty’s future at Tottenham was at risk going into the January transfer window. It was clear that Antonio Conte wanted to sign a new right-back to replace Emerson Royal as his main starter. In turn, the Irishman would fall to third in the hierarchy.
Another right-back left Tottenham before Doherty did, with Djed Spence signing for Rennes on loan for the rest of the season. But then, the former Wolves man became the second player in his position to head elsewhere.
On deadline day, surprising links with Atletico Madrid emerged. Things progressed quickly, with Doherty eventually ending up in the Spanish capital.
Reports initially expected his exit to also be a loan deal. But in actual fact, the manner of his departure was more emphatic. Tottenham cancelled the final 18 months of Doherty’s contract so he could depart on a free transfer.
FIFA rules would not have permitted them to send another player out on loan. Therefore, Doherty’s days on Tottenham’s books became numbered.
He left the club with 71 appearances behind him and three goals. It is fair to say he wasn’t as impactful as Tottenham may have hoped for when they bought him, but he might not have been the worst culprit.
Now, Doherty has given his side of the story about transferring from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid.
Matt Doherty describes Atletico Madrid move
“For me, it was kind of a no-brainer once the opportunity came and I had to take it with both hands,” he said at his Atletico unveiling. “It’s an absolute pleasure to be here.
“I never imagined at the time something like this would be able to happen. Back in time when I was doing everything my dream initially was to play in the Premier League. I fulfilled that dream.
“But opportunities come that are unexpected at times, and this was an opportunity I saw that if I made the move I could better myself as a person exploring different cultures and different football.
“Like I said before, once the opportunity came it was impossible for me to give it up.”
Doherty’s contract at the Estadio Metropolitano is only due to last until the end of the season. After all, that would have been the case had their original plan of taking him on loan been possible.
But since he only has one other natural right-back to compete with in Diego Simeone’s squad, in the shape of Nahuel Molina, Doherty could be ready to show them what he is capable of.
At the age of 31 and with his chances at Tottenham having reduced, Doherty certainly cannot be blamed for taking up this opportunity.
He may be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the last right-back to go from Spurs to the Spanish capital, Kieran Trippier, who enjoyed a successful spell in La Liga before earning a Premier League return.
For now, Doherty will just have to focus on the six months ahead of him. Meanwhile, Tottenham replaced him with Pedro Porro, who will hope to gain more trust from Conte than Doherty did.
READ MORE: Pedro Porro tells Tottenham fans three things he will bring to new club after deadline-day switch