When Tottenham Hotspur parted with £15m in order to secure the signing of Udinese wing-back Destiny Udogie back in August, only for Fabio Paratici to send the 19-year-old back to Serie A on a season-long loan, many supporters may have questioned why their club spent such a considerable fee on a player who would not feature for Spurs until at least the 2023/24 campaign.
However, when taking into account just how impressive the defender has been for Le Zebrette so far this season, Paratici’s decision to allow the teenager to continue his development in the professional game in familiar surroundings already appears to have been something of a stroke of genius by the Tottenham sporting director.
Indeed, over his six Serie A appearances in 2022/23, the £26.3m-rated talent has been in sensational form, having already scored two goals – an extremely well-worked winner against Monza and a brilliantly taken opener in a 4-0 victory over Inter Milan – in addition to making an average of 3.0 tackles – the joint tenth-most in the league – 1.5 interceptions and 0.8 key passes per game.
These returns have seen the Italy U21 international average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.12, ranking him as Andrea Sottil’s fifth-best performer in the league – with the youngster playing a key role in third-placed Udinese’s exceptional start to the Serie A season.
Furthermore, according to FBref, the 19-year-old ranks in the top 1% of wing-backs in Europe’s big five leagues and European competitions for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the top 1% for non-penalty xG, the top 19% for shots, the top 25% for shot-creating actions, the top 22% for dribbles completed and the top 26% for passes completed over the last 365 days.
These metrics demonstrate just how forward-thinking a defender Udogie evidently is, with there being clear comparisons between the Italian sensation and one of Tottenham’s current wing-back stars, Ivan Perisic.
Indeed, having joined Spurs from Inter on a free transfer this summer, the 33-year-old has already proven over his nine appearances in all competitions just how dangerous he can be in the final third, with the £17.5m-rated talent registering four assists and creating four big chances for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 1.8 key passes per game.
However, with the Croatia international very much entering the twilight years of his career at the very top of the game, Perisic’s addition was certainly not a move with the long-term in mind for Paratici – while the 19-year-old Udogie’s signing was undoubtedly a much more long-term project for the north London side.
And, considering the similarities between the two, should Antonio Conte place his trust in the Udinese starlet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season, the 52-year-old manager could well be rewarded with the discovery of his next Perisic – something that will be an extremely exciting prospect for both supporters and the Italian alike.