Matt Doherty: The strange reason why Tottenham defender was released and signed for Atletico Madrid

  • Spurs terminated Doherty's contract
  • Spurs had exceeded loanee limit of 8 players
  • Full-back joins Atletico

WHAT HAPPENED? With Pedro Porro arriving in north London and youngster Djed Spence heading out to Rennes, it had been widely reported that Doherty would join the Spanish side on loan. However, the club announced that they had "mutually agreed to the termination of Matt Doherty's contract to enable him to join another club" which was, within barely 10 minutes, revealed to be Atletico.

WHY WAS DOHERTY'S CONTRACT TERMINATED? While a loan move was likely preferable for both player and club, Tottenham's loanee tally currently stands eight players, with Spence joining Tanguy Ndombele (Napoli), Destiny Udogie (Udinese), Giovanni Lo Celso (Villarreal), Sergio Reguilon (Atletico), Harry Winks (Sampdoria), Bryan Gil (Sevilla) and Joe Rodon (Rennes). Eight loanees is the maximum amount allowed by Premier League regulations, meaning the only way to let Doherty leave was through the termination of his contract.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Doherty's departure will free up space for Porro's immediate inclusion, the Republic of Ireland international will be hoping to re-find his form in the Spanish capital. The 31-year-old struggled for consistent game time under Antonio Conte and was even on the receiving end of some harsh criticism from the Italian. For Atletico, they will hope Doherty's acquisition can help fire them on up the table, as Diego Simeone's side currently sit 13 points off leaders Barca in fourth.


Matt Doherty Tottenham 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR DOHERTY? His debut could come as early as Sunday, when Atletico host Getafe at the Wanda Metropolitano.