Tottenham Hotspur could be about to fix their defensive issues in this transfer window…
According to Italian transfer guru Fabrizio Romano in The Guardian, Spurs have ramped up talks with Nuno Espirito Santo over their vacant manager’s role and will then target Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde ahead of the new campaign.
The 22-year-old is currently at Euro 2020 with France and is expected to be sold for less than his €80m (£68m) release clause.
Newly-appointed sporting director Fabio Paratici is said to admire the former Wolves boss, who was not previously under consideration by the north London club, and he now seems like the frontrunner for the job.
Whoever is appointed, whether that is the Portuguese coach or someone else, they will be walking into quite the mess in N17. Spurs recorded their lowest finish in the Premier League in over a decade and missed out on yet another trophy following defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
There’s also the future of star striker Harry Kane to consider as he expressed his desire to leave the club this summer.
One of the biggest issues Spurs faced throughout the tumultuous 2020/21 campaign was at the back, where a combination of individual mistakes and a lack of cohesion led to them having one of the worst defensive records in the top eight.
It was so bad that Jose Mourinho used more than 16 different combinations at the back, whilst the players at his disposal were regularly lambasted.
For example, the pairing of Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier was deemed one of the worst in the Premier League by former Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara, whilst Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher dubbed Serge Aurier the “biggest liability” in the English top-flight.
Truth be told, Spurs never replaced the presence of Jan Vertonghen, who left for Benfica following the expiry of his contract llast year, and Joe Rodon’s arrival was surely with the future in mind.
Kounde may only be 22 but he has quickly emerged as a defensive star – that much is already known as he made Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2020 squad over some big names such as Dayot Upamecano.
His form and ability has led to some high praise indeed – speaking to Football Transfer Tavern, La Liga expert Euan McTear said: “He’s still so young, he’s got energy, great positioning too. All the centre-backs, not just in Spain I think, but if you look around Europe, he’s got to be one of the highest prospects.
“To be playing for France who have countless centre-backs, if he’s able to get himself into that group, then, yeah, he’s pretty special.”
Indeed, he ended the campaign as Sevilla’s highest-rated player (7.01) and recorded an average of three aerial duels won, 1.2 interceptions and a 90.1% passing accuracy per league outing, via WhoScored.
The 5 foot 10 beast, who is valued at £54m by Transfermarkt, is evidently a cool, calm and intelligent ball-playing defender, and that could be exactly what’s needed in the heart of Spurs’ defence.
Once Nuno gets through the door, he could well solve one of their biggest problems in a heartbeat by signing the Sevilla star.
AND in other news, Alasdair Gold reveals fresh twist in Nuno Santo pursuit…