Tottenham Hotspur may rue the decision to not sign Roger Ibanez during the summer transfer window as he has enjoyed a stunning start to the 2022/23 campaign.
The north London outfit were linked with a move for the AS Roma star back in June, with Italian outlet Calciomercato claiming that manager Antonio Conte was keen on the 23-year-old and that he would cost around €30m (£26m).
Since then, remaining in the capital, Ibanez has emerged as a standout performer under former Spurs boss Jose Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico – indeed, he is currently their third highest-rated player in the Serie A per WhoScored figures (7.42).
Only the creative exploits of Paulo Dybala (7.57) and fellow midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini (7.43) better those returns.
It builds on his impressive campaign under the Portuguese last season, one that ended in Europa Conference League success as the Serie A outfit clinched the trophy over Feyenoord in the final, where Ibanez played the full 90 minutes and helped contribute towards a clean sheet.
Interestingly, FBref compare his statistical profile to that of Davinson Sanchez, who has been afforded game time under Conte but it’s one of the 53-year-old’s former stars that he most aligns with – Alessandro Bastoni.
Spurs attempted to lure the young Italian to N17 in the summer but he remained at the San Siro.
During the 2021/22 campaign, both Ibanez and Bastoni registered similar tackles and blocks per 90 numbers, whilst they were also strikingly alike when it came to ball-playing ability, averaging 4.14 and 4.20 progressive passes, respectively, as per FBref.
Given his start to the season, Conte will surely be gutted to have missed out on such a talent and one very akin to his former gem.
The past prospect of having Ibanez line up next to Cristian Romero in Spurs’ backline was certainly eye-catching and when you throw in an in-form Eric Dier as the third in a back three, the north Londoners could have deployed an aggressive-looking, pass-premium defence in the Premier League.
Ibanez, once lauded as “a talent” and as an “aggressive” defender by former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, is evidently one that has got away for Tottenham in recent months.