Tottenham Hotspur may have won the Premier League title by now if they had a better goalkeeper than Hugo Lloris - that's the controversial opinion of former Chelsea striker-turned-pundit Tony Cascarino.
Spurs captain Lloris has been regarded as one of English football's premier custodians for some time, ranking just adrift of the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea counterparts David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois in the minds of many.
However, the experienced Frenchman is certainly no stranger to an error or two and was heavily criticised on Sunday (20 August) for failing to keep out Marcos Alonso's dramatic late strike in a 2-1 defeat by last season's champions Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
A worse blunder came on international duty in June, when Lloris inexplicably charged out of his area with 10 seconds remaining of a tied World Cup qualifier against Sweden and gave the ball straight to Ola Toivonen, who duly notched the winner from the halfway line.
Writing in his weekly column for The Times on Monday, Cascarino expressed serious misgivings regarding the 30-year-old's all-round game and expressed a belief that he was some way behind both De Gea and Courtois. He then released his top-flight goalkeeper pecking order which had Lloris fifth behind Stoke City's Jack Butland and oft-maligned Liverpool stopper Simon Mignolet.
That seems quite a lowly ranking for a player who, according to the Evening Standard, stands alongside side Harry Kane as Tottenham's joint-highest earner after agreeing a new five-and-a-half-year contract in December 2016 on wages of approximately £100,000-a-week.
"I'm not convinced that Hugo Lloris is a Premier League-winning goalkeeper - and that's not just based on yesterday's mistake," Cascarino said. "The France number one doesn't command the penalty area like Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea. I think he's a very good shot-stopper but he's not very good with his feet and I don't think he is anywhere near the level of David De Gea of Manchester United. He's not bad at dealing with crosses but, again, he's nothing compared to Courtois.
"I think Lloris is close to Liverpool's Simon Mignolet in terms of ability. I think he is about the fifth-best goalkeeper in the Premier League. If Tottenham had a better goalkeeper, I think they might have won the league already. If you look at most Premier League winners their goalkeeper has been extraordinary, and I just think Lloris is good, nothing more. And I don't see an improving goalkeeper there; I don't feel he has improved since he moved to Tottenham [from Lyon] five years ago."
Former Swansea City number one Michel Vorm is Lloris' current deputy, while Tottenham are also said to be closing in on the signing of Paulo Gazzaniga from Southampton. Spurs, who recently confirmed the imminent €40m (£36.5m, $47.1m) arrival of Colombian centre-back Davinson Sanchez from Ajax, were unable to successfully negotiate the summer return of third-string former Espanyol loanee Pau Lopez.