Tottenham Hotspur could be on the lookout for a creative midfielder during the January transfer window and one name is sure to be frequently mentioned.
Over the last couple of windows, the Lilywhites have been linked with a move for Leicester City maestro James Maddison, with transfer insider Dean Jones even suggesting that he was holding out for a move to one of the two north London giants.
More recently, journalist Pete O’Rourke suggested to Football FanCast that the England international would be a perfect signing to make in January as he could form a “formidable” partnership with the more defensively-sound Rodrigo Bentancur.
Another name that is regularly linked with Spurs, including this week, is Atalanta star Ruslan Malinovskyi – according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), manager Antonio Conte and sporting director Fabio Paratici are keeping an eye on his situation.
It’s thought that he could be available for a transfer in January as he’s only playing a bit-part role for Gian Piero Gasperini this campaign.
That’s perhaps a little surprising, given just how good he has been for the Serie A side in recent seasons. For example, last term, the Ukraine international delivered ten goals and seven assists in 40 appearances across the Italian top-flight and both the Champions and Europa League, via Transfermarkt.
Malinovskyi was also deployed in a multitude of attacking and midfield roles, though his most regular spot was as a no.10 or as a second striker.
He’s capable of providing more than just goal contributions, too. As per FBref, the Ukrainian’s 1.24 blocks and 1.00 aerial duels won per 90 sees him rank within the top 17% of all his positional peers across Europe, whilst he also sits among the top 5% for shots and the top 6% for shot-creating actions.
Evidently, he can offer similar creativity to that of the Leicester man, as well as some key defensive contributions that’ll undoubtedly catch Conte’s eye.
Atalanta are thought to want just €18m (£15.5m) for the 29-year-old, who has a “cannon” of a left foot and was once said to be “decisive”, so he’s clearly available at a fraction of Maddison’s likely price tag.
Therefore, Paratici and co could find an ideal and bargain alternative in the 5 foot 11 “animal” – in the words of journalist Fernando Evangelio.