Tottenham Hotspur have set their sights on signing two centre-backs this summer to bolster Antonio Conte’s squad and fill some expected gaps.
Conte wants at least two new centre-backs to arrive at Spurs during the coming transfer window, particularly if either Joe Rodon or Japhet Tanganga head out of the club in the next two months in search of regular football. The head coach and Tottenham’s managing director of football Fabio Paratici discussed their planned targets at a meeting in Turin on Friday.
The priority first is a left-sided centre-back for the back three, to provide competition for Ben Davies who was Conte’s only real choice in that role last season. What does not help Spurs is that football.london understands the duo’s top two left-footed targets for the role – Alessandro Bastoni and Josko Gvardiol – are also among the most difficult to get at this moment in time.
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Conte managed 23-year-old Bastoni for two seasons at Inter Milan, turning him into a regular first team starter at the club and an Italy international following loan spells at Atalanta and Parma. Spurs do not see any issues with meeting the player’s wage expectations or Inter’s fee, which is set to be at least £51m.
The problem comes with convincing Bastoni to leave a club he is very happy at. The player is understood to be keen on playing for Conte again one day, but is yet to be convinced that the time is right at his young age to leave Italy for the very different Premier League.
football.london understands that at the moment there has been no progress on that front with the player on international duty with Italy until mid-June and yet to be convinced that it is the right time to leave Inter. The key over the coming weeks will be just how much the Serie A club need funds for their own transfer endeavours and the centre-back does have just two years left on his contract. If he does not sign a new deal then this is the window in which Inter can get the highest fee for him.
For Tottenham it will now be about how much patience they show with a situation that is not yet a closed door but one that depends on other factors coming together.
Twenty-year-old Gvardiol could potentially be even tougher to bring to north London. The Croatia international is not only also understood to be very happy at his club, RB Leipzig, but with a contract until 2026 any potential transfer fee is expected to far exceed Bastoni’s. On top of that there is the further complication of Manchester City and Chelsea both being interested in the young centre-back.
The renowned way Paratici works is that he attempts to negotiate deals for numerous players simultaneously – sometimes up to 10 at a time – for the same position before pulling the trigger on one or two, which means links aplenty in the media which is set to create plenty of confusion for Tottenham fans this summer.
football.london understands that others on the Italian’s Tottenham centre-back wishlist include Villarreal’s Pau Torres, England international and Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi, Torino’s Gleison Bremer and Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet.
Torres is another left-footer and, like Bastoni, has just two years left on his contract. Villarreal and Spurs have a good relationship and the 25-year-old turned down a move to north London last summer. He is believed to be a player of interest to Manchester United this summer, although he has spoken in recent days about the possibility of remaining at Villareal who have offered him a new contract.
Guehi, a right-footer, has had a big season for Palace after his move from Chelsea which earned him that England call, and with his leadership ability at just 21-years-old, he captained Palace on numerous occasions in the second half of the campaign. Spurs are looking to bolster their homegrown numbers this summer but with a contract until 2026, the young centre-back would not come cheap.
Bremer is an interesting one, because the club that is expected to sign the right-footer this summer is Inter. The 25-year-old Brazilian is available for around £21m and his future could be tied up somewhat with Bastoni’s. It’s worth noting that Bremer’s representatives are CAA Base, who have strong connections to Tottenham and represent Son Heung-min as well as former Spurs men Dele Alli, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker-Peters.
Another left-footed centre-back on the club’s list is Lenglet, who turns 27 this month. football.london understands that the north London club attempted to sign the France international on loan last summer in Paratici’s early weeks in the job but the defender did not want to leave the Catalan giants at that point.
However, Barcelona’s financial problems are set to trigger exits from the club this summer and Paratici is expected to explore Lenglet once again as another option on that left-hand side. The experienced Frenchman played 27 times for the La Liga side last season, starting four times in the Champions League, and that he is likely to be available on a loan deal could help Tottenham put their increased transfer funds towards other areas of the team.
One right-footed centre-back continually linked with Spurs is South Korea international Kim Min-jae. The 25-year-old centre-back joined Fenerbahce last summer and played 40 times for them last season. He has been reported as being a potential arrival in the Premier League this summer. While he continues to be a player of some interest to Tottenham, he is not – at this stage of the transfer window – understood to be high up their list of potential centre-back signings.
Source by Football London