The tale of Juan Foyth over the past 12 months is a mightily unfortunate one.
Fresh off the back of a stellar Copa America showing at right-back, the Argentine was set to compete with Serge Aurier for that role in Mauricio Pochettino's side following the departure of Kieran Trippier in the summer.
And with Pochettino not exactly sold on the impulsive Ivorian, Foyth was destined to make the right-back slot his own after showing promise at centre-back since his £11m arrival from Estudiantes in 2017.
The summer nights/early mornings spent watching Argentina - what, you didn't as well? - as they lost in the semi-finals to Brazil wasn't the first time the Lilywhite faithful had seen Foyth excel in an 'unfamilar' position, though.
He had starred at right-back in Spurs' 1-0 defeat away at Manchester City at the back end of last season; astutely shutting out both Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling as well as showing off his capacity to remain composed in possession amid pressure.
An ankle injury sustained in the gargantuan Audi Cup final against Bayern in July, however, prevented the 22-year-old from building on a fine few months of football at the start of the 2019/20 campaign.
And instead of Pochettino deploying a man who he once said has the potential to be one of the best defenders of the world, the Argentine boss was forced into settling with the oh so reliable Serge as his first-choice, while Kyle Walker-Peters filled in poorly at Manchester City back in August and Davinson Sanc-- well, the less said about that experiment the better.
Nevertheless, when Foyth made his full return in the rout away at Red Star Belgrade in November and struck a dynamic combination with compatriot Giovani Lo Celso down the right flank, Spurs fans looked to have caught a glimpse of the second cycle under the guidance of a manager they truly adored - with a more reliable and promising right-back emerging like a diamond in the rough.
The victory in Belgrade would prove to be Foyth's last start under the man who brought him to the club, and while Lo Celso has gone on to establish himself as the Lilywhites player of the season under his successor, Jose Mourinho, Foyth has endured quite the opposite fate.
With the 'special one' generally opting for an asymmetric 4-2-3-1 since he took over in November, opportunities for the Argentine to strut his stuff at right-back have been limited. In fact, he hasn't played a single minute in this position since Mourinho took over.
Aurier's superior attacking qualities mean he's currently the firm number one choice as he creates a fifth attacking option for Spurs in the final third. If Foyth is to get minutes at right-back, this will likely mean the wide overload will switch to the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon deployed in the advancing left-back role and Foyth shuffling infield to create a three-man defence when Spurs are in possession.
Mourinho's Ben Davies fetish, however, means this is unlikely.
And from November up until the suspension, Foyth started just twice for the Lilywhites - both at centre-back. The first coming in the most forgettable game of the Champions League campaign away at Bayern before being granted another opportunity as part of a back three away at Norwich 17 days later.
His performance at the Allianz was admirable and mature but his showing at Carrow Road would seemingly prove to be fatal as his overconfidence in possession gifted Norwich the opener.
The Argentine ran straight into Emi Buendia before Mario Vrančić countered swiftly to give the Canaries the lead.
And after a wretched 45 minutes, he was hooked and never to be seen in a Spurs shirt again...
Just to be clear, this isn't a missing person case, Foyth is alive and kicking and just last month he fired a warning shot to the Spurs boss over his lack of game time, admitting he'd be 'happy' to go in search of a new club.
And although from a selfish Spurs fan's perspective it'd be great to see Foyth fulfil the promise he's shown in north London, the 22-year-old may well have to leave the Lilywhites at the end of the season to further his career - whether it be on a temporary or permanent basis.
The Argentine can't afford to stagnate in a similar vein to Walker-Peters, there was a reason why Poch was so big on him before his departure; he reads the game superbly, is a fantastic ball-player and is blessed with a long stride which allows him to match attackers for pace. Overall, he's a tremendous talent.
Sure, errors in possession may be a little too frequent but those can certainly be ironed out in time.
A loan to a top-level side, or potentially the Championship, would be ideal for all parties; Foyth enjoys minutes, Mourinho acknowledges the talent and Spurs eventually end up with one of the world's finest defenders in their ranks.
One can dream, okay.
While a permanent move away has the potential for Spurs fans in five years time to look back on Foyth as 'the one that got away' as he lifts his second Champions League crown at Barcelona - the Catalans are interested in the Argentine, by the way - it's one that might have to happen if Mourinho continues to stunt his development by simply not picking him.
Hopefully, though, the Portuguese boss isn't so hasty and gives Foyth a chance to prove his worth out on loan for a campaign before making a decision about his long-term future.
Source : 90min