Tottenham Hotspur have been handed a big boost in their pursuit of Djed Spence this week…
Over the weekend, the Evening Standard claimed that Spurs remained locked in talks with Championship outfit Middlesbrough over a deal for the 21-year-old defender and that they remained hopeful of completing the transfer.
Dan Kilpatrick also wrote that manager Antonio Conte had made a new right wing-back a ‘priority’ and that the two clubs were discussing the ‘finer details’ of the deal.
Now, the Lilywhites have surely been given their biggest boost yet after the England U21 international was left out of Boro’s pre-season trip to Portugal.
TeesideLive have named the 25 players that have travelled for Middlesbrough’s warm-weather training camp in the Algarve this week and Spence is a key absentee.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are currently in South Korea for their own pre-season preparations, so it’ll be a few more weeks before the Boro man can link up with Conte, should this deal be finally completed.
With Chris Wilder leaving the young defender out of his travelling contingent, it surely opens the door for Spurs sporting director Fabio Paratici to strike. He will have been left at home in a bid to resolve his future.
The Times claimed that the Italian head coach was unconvinced by both Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty, so perhaps Spence can be the perfect solution.
Not only did he contribute massively to the Reds’ promotion to the Premier League but he has also already put in impressive displays against top-flight opposition. He was part of the team that knocked Spurs’ arch-rivals Arsenal out of the FA Cup, which led to some high praise indeed.
Gunners legend Ian Wright waxed lyrical about the young talent.
“But let me say, that was one of the best right-back performances I have seen for a very long time. A very long time,” he told his ‘Wrighty’s House’ podcast.
“If we are talking about right-backs performing at an unbelievable level, we’re talking Reece James and Trent [Alexander-Arnold]. But I have not seen a combative, technical, swashbuckling performance like that for a very long time.”
The 21-year-old gem averaged 1.6 interceptions, 1.5 tackles, 1.8 dribbles and one key pass per game in the Championship last season (via WhoScored), returns that only bolster his claims to be Conte’s main man at right wing-back as it shows he can influence a match at either end of the pitch.
Whether that be through his evident defensive intelligence or his ability to take on the opposition, beat his man and then deliver.
Premier League title-winner Wes Morgan has also been left impressed by Spence, describing him as a “constant threat”, whilst another ex-Arsenal man, Martin Keown, dubbed him a “Rolls Royce”, both during punditry duties (via GazetteLive).
For a mooted £15m fee, Spence will surely be a player that Conte adores. Paratici must now get this deal over the line now that the defender has been snubbed from Boro’s pre-season tour.