That’s according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER (via Daily Express), who claim that, after Atletico Madrid failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Diego Simeone’s side now desperately need to raise funds in the winter transfer window, with the LaLiga side reportedly putting four players – including De Paul – up for sale.
The report goes on to state that the forward-thinking midfielder’s most likely destination could be Tottenham, with the 28-year-old – who was reported to have rejected Fabio Paratici’s advances this summer – now looking set to reassess his options ahead of the January market.
It is true that De Paul has not been at his free-flowing best since joining Atleti in a €35m (£30.5m) deal last summer – something which has been attributed to the attacking midfielder being played in a more reserved role under Simeone – but considering just how impressive the Argentine was at Udinese, it is easy to see why Paratici would be keen.
Indeed, across his 36 Serie A appearances in 2020/21, the £52m-rated talent was in sensational form for Le Zebrette, scoring nine goals, registering nine assists and creating 20 big chances for his team-mates – the joint-most in the league – along with taking 2.3 shots, making 2.3 key passes and completing 3.4 dribbles per game.
The £111k-per-week playmaker also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, averaging 40.7 passes, 0.5 interceptions, 1.1 tackles and 4.5 long balls and winning 8.1 duels (at a success rate of 60%) per game.
These returns saw the 43-cap international, who Roy Nemer dubbed “unplayable” and a “monster“, average an astonishing SofaScore match rating of 7.53, not only ranking him as Udinese’s best performer in the division but also as the second-best player in the league as a whole, behind only Lorenzo Insigne.
As such, should De Paul be able to rediscover this level of form following a potential move to Tottenham this winter, it is undeniable that signing the 28-year-old would very much appear to be the answer to Antonio Conte’s lack of creativity in the middle of the park.
Should Atletico be willing to part with the Argentine for a cut-price fee – something which has been suggested – the forward-thinking midfielder could even prove to become Paratici’s next Rodrigo Bentancur-esque capture in the transfer market. The Italian’s £15.8m January signing is already worth a whopping £52m after highly impressing at Spurs.