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Spurs academy gem Jamie Donley could be a James Maddison alternative

Tottenham Hotspur have been in desperate need of a creative playmaker for quite some time, dating back to the departure of Christian Eriksen.

Club-record moves for Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, who cost a combined £110m, have failed to pay dividends and the recent 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in the north London derby only further compounded just how poor the side can be.

At times, the football played under Antonio Conte has been boring but when you’re winning, you ignore it. Three points – or a win – is all that really matters come full-time.

But they were outplayed by the league leaders; their arch-rivals.

Spurs failed to secure an attack-minded midfielder during the summer transfer window, despite being linked to several names, perhaps most notably in James Maddison.

Should Conte unleash Donley this season?





The Leicester City dynamo was on fire last season for the Foxes as he delivered 18 goals and 12 assists across 53 appearances and even though the Midlands outfit sit rock bottom this term, he’s remained in form with four goal contributions from six outings so far.

January is long in the distance, so any chance for sporting director Fabio Paratici to rectify this issue will have to wait, though it could prove to be a shrewd decision for Conte to dip into the academy set-up, where Jamie Donley – part of the Guardian’s prestigious ‘Next Generation’ list for 2021 looks an ideal alternative.

The 17-year-old is primarily a striker but journalist David Hytner has previously noted his ability to drop off and provide from deep due to his impressive passing range – in some ways, just like Harry Kane.

Donley missed three months of the 2021/22 campaign with a wrist injury but still managed to bag 17 goals for the U18s, earning a promotion to the U21 set-up for this season.

That’s very similar to the goal figures that Maddison put up, albeit at youth level.

He also laid on six assists in the U18s Premier League and for Wayne Burnett’s side, he has largely played in the hole behind the striker, as per Transfermarkt.

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Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Tottenham Hotspur's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Okay, we'll start with an easy one... How much did Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg cost last summer?

Donley has consistently been lauded for his passing range, which would further highlight his potential of forging a senior career outside of the no.9 position.

So maybe Conte should turn to the teenager, who journalist Josh Bunting described as a “natural finisher” and “powerful” on the ball”, with Spurs needing an exciting spark in the final third and as that’s unlikely to be remedied in the transfer market for quite some time, Donley could be an intriguing solution.

AND in other news, Spurs could unearth a new Gareth Bale in “creative” 18 y/o speed demon, forget Edwards

Article title: Spurs academy gem Jamie Donley could be a James Maddison alternative

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