Tottenham Hotspur were reportedly keen to sign Atalanta midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi over the summer, albeit with the Serie A side having been reluctant to part ways with the Ukraine international.
That’s according to journalist Fabrizio Romano, with the transfer guru revealing on Twitter: “Tottenham and Olympique Marseille wanted Ruslan Malinovskyi on loan with buy option. Player’s dream was to join Spurs but Atalanta president Percassi decided not to sell him. Situation remains open for the next year.”
As journalist Dean Jones previously stated, the 49-cap gem could well have been the perfect addition for Conte this summer due to his hard-working nature and ability to play in “multiple systems”, with the former Chelsea boss likely to have wanted the flexibility to alter his tactical approach.
The lack of a genuine creative midfielder in the current Tottenham squad could well prove something of a problem as the season progresses, with the Italian seemingly not having the right type of players to deploy a 3-5-2 formation – a system that brought him success during his time at Inter Milan.
Although the use of a 3-4-3 system is currently paying off following what’s been an unbeaten start to the new campaign for the Lilywhites, it may pose an issue later down the line if Conte is unable to shuffle his pack when needed.
Malinovskyi could well have been the perfect fit to operate as that much-needed link between midfield and attack having been hugely impressive during his time in Italy, scoring 30 goals and providing 27 assists in 132 games for his current side.
That form has unsurprisingly seen the £25.2m-rated ace lauded as “decisive” by Gian Piero Gasperini, with the creative gem also previously laying on 62 goal contributions in just 132 games at former club Genk.
In fact, his haul of 74 club career goals is better than the records of Pierre-Emile Hojberg (26), Yves Bissouma (13) and Rodrigo Bentancur (4) combined, showcasing that need for a figure with a greater killer instinct in the current Spurs squad.
Not just a player who can make that telling contribution in attack, however, the £21k-per-week menace also offers real quality in a defensive sense, ranking in the top 11% for aerial duels won and the top 13% for pressures made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues.
That combination of attacking quality and an impressive work ethic would have simply made the 5-foot-11 machine a real asset to Conte’s side, with the 53-year-old likely to be hugely frustrated that a deal could not be pulled off.