Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping that two quick transfers free up funds to make a move for a new centre-back this summer.
football.london reported back in March that Spurs were looking to sign a new central defensive leader for their back four as a priority this summer.
Tottenham dropped 23 points from leading positions in the Premier League this season, second only to Brighton, and a lack of leadership in the backline has been identified as one of the factors.
Former vice-captain Jan Vertonghen departed N17 at the end of his contract last summer and while Spurs brought in young Wales international Joe Rodon, the promising centre-back is not a direct replacement right now for the Belgian although it is hoped he will be eventually.
Tottenham would preferably like to bring in someone with Premier League experience this summer, but that specific focus brings a problem in that the club’s usual transfer model is to sign young players who will retain their value and younger leaders with experience of English football are rare and expensive.
Any transfer targets will ultimately have to be agreed with the new manager but there are some players that the club have monitored for a while that fit the mould.
Joachim Andersen is one player Tottenham have looked at a number of times in the past and the Dane, who turns 25 on Monday, impressed while on loan in the Premier League with Fulham.
Not only was the Denmark international a near ever-present in Scott Parker’s side, but he also wore the captain’s armband in more than half of his Premier League appearances for Fulham despite it being his debut season in the capital.
Andersen is one of a number of centre-backs Spurs are considering making a move for this summer and they certainly have experience of dealing with the defender’s parent club Lyon and their fierce negotiator – owner Jean-Michel Aulas.
Fulham’s relegation means they are not expected to make a move for the defender.
Another player with leadership capabilities who has admirers within Tottenham is Brighton captain Lewis Dunk, however with him turning 30 this year, he does not fit the usual age profile for Spurs signings and has a long contract until 2025.
Tottenham had a strong interest in Milan Skriniar last summer but would not meet Inter Milan’s £43m valuation of the player.
With the Serie A side’s current financial struggles, the north London outfit could return for another run at the 26-year-old Slovakian, who has two years left on his contract.
Another player on Tottenham’s radar is Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic.
While he does not have Premier League experience, the Serbia international has plenty of game time under his belt despite being just 23-years-old, with 28 caps to his name for his country, and was a near ever-present for his club in Serie A during this campaign. He also wore the captain’s armband on a couple of occasions in the Coppa Italia.
Another attractive element for Spurs is that Milenkovic’s contract has just over 12 months left to run and that could give them plenty of wiggle room on his price, if competition does not keep it high.
Tottenham need to raise funds for any transfers as they struggle financially in the aftermath of the pandemic, with a short-term £175m Bank of England loan to pay off in full by March 2022.
Spurs will need to move at least one of their main centre-backs this season out of the door in order to create a space and raise funds for transfer activity.
However, a couple of the fringe centre-backs could provide more immediate funds for the club to use.
Juan Foyth is likely to see his loan move to Villarreal made permanent with the La Liga club having an option to sign the 23-year-old Argentina international for around £13m on top of the loan fee already paid.
The versatile Argentine has played 31 times for Unai Emery’s side this season, turning out in the centre of defence, at right-back and in a defensive midfield role and the former Arsenal boss admitted that if it was down to him he would get the deal done.
Another defender who has impressed on loan is Cameron Carter-Vickers and there are growing suggestions that Bournemouth will look to try to make his move to the south coast a permanent one, with other clubs also believed to be interested in the 23-year-old, who has 12 months left on his contract.
The sale of those two players would certainly give Tottenham something to work with as chairman Daniel Levy must get creative about the structuring of any deals the club does this summer.
Spurs want to rebuild their backline to give their new manager a stronger foundation with which to build his team upon and the more new players he has to work with in pre-season the smoother the transition.
Source by Football London