Tottenham Hotspur appear to be lining up a replacement for Hugo Lloris ahead of the summer transfer window…
According to the Daily Mail, the north London outfit have set their sights on Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels as an alternative and cheaper option to Burnley’s Nick Pope.
Spurs’ top-flight rivals are demanding in excess of £30m for the England international, a fee they could well struggle to meet in the current financial climate, whilst Lloris’ future at the club remains uncertain amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain boss and ex-Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
It’s claimed that the 6 foot 6 Belgian has been ‘watched extensively’ in recent months. CIES Football Observatory currently value the Wolfsburg vice-captain at just €20m (£18m), although it remains to be seen how much he’d command.
The 34-year-old veteran has somewhat declined in the last 18 months or so, leading to scathing criticism in the press. There were several calamitous errors during an injury-hit season last term.
Speaking after Spurs’ FA Cup defeat to Everton, talkSPORT’s Trevor Sinclair brandished him “lettuce wrists” after letting in a tame strike from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whilst Jason Cundy went onto describe the Frenchman as their “weak link.”
Lloris will also be entering the final year of his current contract in the summer, so if Daniel Levy is to cash in on him, it has to be then.
Casteels is an intriguing option to succeed him in north London. Not only does he bear similar leadership attributes, as seen by him captaining Wolfsburg for 21 of his 30 appearances this season, but his sheer size would also offer something different in terms of aerial presence.
There’s no denying that Lloris has been a phenomenal shot-stopper over the years but, at a whopping 1.97m (6 foot 6), Casteels is a far more commanding presence in the box.
Indeed, Wolves managing director of sport Jorg Schmadtk believes the 28-year-old has “developed into one of the best goalkeepers in the world” and has lauded his character, adding (via Bulinews): “His quality and character are a huge support and a role model for the whole team.”
In that season, the Belgian giant managed to silence reported Spurs target Marcel Sabitzer and his RB Leipzig team – Casteels, captain for the day, was Wolfburg’s top-rated player (7.9) as per SofaScore. He made four saves, two high claims and even managed a 77% passing accuracy despite 33 long ball attempts. Sabitzer had two shots on target and couldn’t find a way past the colossal Casteels.
On the above evidence, the one-cap shot-stopper would be a perfect – and necessary – replacement come the summer and, considering he’d be a far cheaper option than Pope, Levy must strike.