Tottenham Hotspur may be able to finally replace Mousa Dembele if emerging reports are to be believed…
According to French outlet le10sport.com, Spurs hold a strong interest in signing Lille midfielder Renato Sanches this transfer window but they are yet to make a concrete offer for the Portugal international.
North London rivals Arsenal and financially struggling La Liga giants Barcelona are also mooted by the report, whilst Liverpool have also been linked in recent weeks.
It’s thought that Sanches is available for around €30m (£26m), with The Athletic also suggesting that Ligue 1’s financial crisis could lead to many players being sold right across the French top-flight.
Arguably, some of Tottenham Hotspur’s decline in the last 18 months or so could be attributed to their loss of Mousa Dembele in the heart of the engine room – a player capable of pulling the strings from midfield and contributing at either end of the pitch.
He was effectively the link between defence and attack for so much of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign, so when he departed for the Chinese Super League in January 2019, the club should have sought after a viable replacement.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was brought in last summer but he’s more of an anchorman than a box-to-box type, whilst Tanguy Ndombele is yet to justify a club-record £55m fee, though 2020/21 was a vast improvement on his maiden campaign in England.
The pair of them could benefit from a Dembele-like presence alongside them in a three-man midfield and that’s where a swoop for Sanches makes sense, especially after becoming a sensation at this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
You may remember him from a disappointing loan spell at Swansea City but since then, he’s flashed glimpses of the huge potential he was once touted with.
“He was a big prospect. Everybody was waiting for him to be one of the top young players for the future,” new Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira told ITV during coverage of Belgium versus Portugal (via football.london). “Last year with Lille, he did really well. He wasn’t really consistent during the season, but he had some flashes of his talent.”
The official Euro 2020 website would go onto laud him as one of Portugal’s biggest positives at the tournament, some five years on from picking up the Golden Boy trophy and earning lofty comparisons to Xavi Alonso.
Bundesliga.com once described him as a “box-to-box midfielder with the strength of a WWE heavyweight and the nimble feet of a ballet dancer,” also likening him to Clarence Seedorf. Well, you could suggest that Dembele was cut from the same cloth and that’s exactly what should attract Spurs to Sanches.
That much is backed up by his statistical returns. Across all competitions in 2020/21, including Euro 2020, the £27m-rated powerhouse averaged 0.7 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, one shot and 1.6 dribbles per outing, via WhoScored.
Fabio Paratici could well finally replace the Belgian beast with a move for the Lille star. They must win the race to secure him before the season gets underway next month.