Guglielmo Vicario’s impending move to Tottenham Hotspur means one of the club’s transfer priorities for this summer will be completed very soon – but it is far from the only one.
A couple of centre-backs and a creative midfielder are still on the wishlist, and Spurs could also move for a wide striker (although one solution could be to bring in a striker versatile enough to play centrally or in wide areas).
In terms of announcements, the message from new head coach Ange Postecoglou is that every player will have a clean slate when they report for pre-season next month. Although, before he officially starts work on July 1 (a week today), the Australian is getting himself up to speed with the strengths and weaknesses of the team he inherits.
So what do we know about how the remaining 10 weeks of Spurs’ summer 2023 window might play out?
Who is looking for players?
When it comes to the mechanics of this transfer window, Spurs are still without a director of football. But the recruiting team has been operating as normally as possible without one over the past few months, identifying targets and laying the groundwork to bring them in.
Chief scout Leonardo Gabbanini has been the key man here and he is now working with Ange Postecoglou to agree new players within the available budget. And with director of performance Gretar Steinsson set to leave the club, Gabbanini will be given even greater prominence.
But as important as the recruitment team is the idea that the manager has the final say on transfers – as was the case under predecessor Antonio Conte, although he sometimes liked to give a different impression. Postecoglou does not want players to impose themselves.
From July 1, operations will also be boosted by Scott Munn officially starting work as football manager. The entire football side of the business, including the director of football when that appointment happens, will report to Munn.
But enough about how it will work, you want to know which players Spurs are trying to sign, right?
Well, let’s start with the central defenders.
Tottenham have lacked a commanding left-sided centre-back for years now despite the best efforts of Ben Davies and loanee Clement Lenglet, and that is a priority for this summer. In an ideal world, assuming they can also replace one or two of their current players in the position, the club would like to bring in two centre-backs – one as a first choice and one as more of a back-up. The latter could be Lenglet himself, who is well thought of in the club for his attitude and commitment. He would not demand a large transfer fee, but his high salary at Barcelona is the biggest obstacle.
As for more of a first-choice option, Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba is a central goal. Spurs have liked Tapsoba, a 24-year-old from Burkina Faso, for some time and although he is right-footed, he is comfortable playing as a left-sided centre-back. The expectation is that talks between Spurs and Leverkusen will take place in the coming days.
Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo is another option, especially since he wants to leave and only has a year left on his contract.
Then there is Marc Guehianother long-term target for Tottenham, but Crystal Palace’s £50m asking price for a player starting to establish himself in England’s set-up is a problem.
Moving up the field, James Maddison, whom Spurs have admired since he was a youngster at Coventry City over seven years ago, is the main target for the creative midfield role – another position they have lacked for a long time. Talks with Leicester City are ongoing, but with the recently relegated Championship club wanting £60m for a player who is out of contract next summer, a deal is not yet close.
Tottenham’s case could be helped by the fact that Newcastle United, their main rivals for Maddison’s signature, are currently focusing elsewhere. They are close to a deal for AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali and while they would love to sign Maddison if the price was right, they do not prioritize a player in his position.
Sticks with Leicester players, winger Harvey Barnes is another player on Tottenham’s list. Again, however, Leicester have made it clear after the possibility of a double move for Maddison and Barnes was suggested that they are looking for a much higher fee.
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An alternative to Barnes is West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen, which is on the club’s list of home goals. However, there is an acceptance that West Ham are unlikely to sell – especially given that they are expected to let captain Declan Rice go this summer. Bowen is another who has been on the Spurs’ radar for several years.
New Dutch champions Feyenoord’s captain Orkun Kokcu was another midfielder they were after, but he is heading to Benfica from Portugal instead. Arnaut Danjumameanwhile, has returned to Villarreal after his half-season loan and will not join Tottenham permanently.
In addition to incomes, Spurs have a huge job on their hands in trying to thin the squad with some outings.
They have 28 senior players at the moment (29 when Vicario joins) and barring Europe this season is likely to have a group of 20 or fewer. With a handful of players to come in as new signings, that’s more than 10 to get rid of.
Those expected to go, either on loan or permanent deals, include Hugo Lloris, Japheth Tanganga, Davidson Sanchez, Joe Rodon, Sergio Reguilon and Harry blinks. Ivan Perisic could also progress after a mixed first season, while the young midfielder is also expected Alfie Devine will go out on loans.
It would be a surprise if Young Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele stay after two loan spells away each in the last 18 months, but they will have a chance to impress Postecoglou. Bryan Gil falls into a slightly different category, as his loans in the same period were more about helping his development.
Eric Dyer‘s contract expires next summer and he is more likely to leave then rather than in this window, assuming he doesn’t sign a new one. There have been negotiations on that front, but they are not at an advanced stage.
And of course, the only possible departure that could end up dominating Spurs’ summer Harry Kane.
The England captain turns 30 on July 28 and has one year left on his contract. Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester United are among the clubs interested, but none have yet tested Tottenham’s resolve with a bid. And even if his contract expires next summer, it would take a huge offer to prize Kane out of the blue and white corner of north London.
Son Heung-min meanwhile, he made it clear this week that he has no intention of leaving this summer – despite interest from new Saudi champions Al-Ittihad.
The September 1st deadline is still more than two months away, but at least things are shaping up for the Spurs.
It’s clear where their priorities are, and now comes the hard/fun/unbearable (even as needed): getting the deals they want to do over the line.
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