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Spurs: Antonio Conte set for fight in António Silva race

Tottenham Hotspur are set to face a battle to bring António Silva to the Premier League in the January transfer window.

What’s the talk?

That’s according to a report by Italian publication Corriere dello Sport (via A Bola), who claim that both Juventus and Napoli have entered the fray for the Benfica centre-back’s signature this winter, with Luciano Spalletti believed to be targeting the 19-year-old as a potential replacement for Gli Azzurri defender Kim Min-jae.

This comes following earlier reports suggesting that Antonio Conte is keeping a very close eye on the Portugal international ahead of launching a potential move of their own in January, while the likes of LiverpoolManchester UnitedReal Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also reported to be keen on the €60m (£52m) starlet.

Gvardiol substitute

While it is undeniable that the signing of reported £70m Spurs’ target Joško Gvardiol would be an unbelievable deal for Conte to pull off this winter, considering just how exciting a talent Silva has proven himself to be for club and country so far this season, the argument that the 19-year-old would be an ideal substitute for the Croatian is an easy one to make.

Indeed, over his 10 Liga Portugal appearances in the current campaign, the £13m-rated sensation has been a rock in the heart of the Benfica defence, helping As Águias keep five clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.7 interceptions, 2.0 tackles, 3.0 clearances and winning 4.9 duels – at a success rate of 64% – per game.

The £29k-per-week defender has also caught the eye in an attacking capacity, having already hit the back of the net on two occasions, in addition to playing an average of 5.7 long balls, taking one shot and completing 66 passes – at a success rate of 92% – per match.

These metrics have seen the player who Jacek Kulig dubbed a “crazy” talent average an astonishing SofaScore match rating of 7.45, not only ranking him as Roger Schmidt’s fourth-best performer in the league but also as the eighth-best player in the Portuguese top-flight in its entirety.

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This form saw the teenager earn a surprise call-up to Fernando Santos’ Portugal squad for the Qatar World Cup, with the centre-back having already made an impression on the biggest stage of world football.

Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch against South Korea, despite his country’s surprising 2-1 loss, the 19-year-old did not look out of place, making one tackle, one interception, one clearance and winning three duels, as well as finding his man with eight of his nine attempted long balls and completing 60 of his 62 attempted passes – at a success rate of 97%.

As such, with the centre-back who legendary Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher claimed is “going to be a superstar” having more than proven that he can take World Cup football in his stride, this would suggest that immediate Premier League football should not be beyond the 19-year-old if he were to move to England this winter.

And, with the teenager looking to be available for a figure that is roughly £18m less than Gvardiol’s reported asking price, coupled with the Portugal starlet being one year younger than the 20-year-old Croat, there may not only be an argument that Silva would be an ideal back-up option to the RB Leipzig star in January but perhaps even a better signing for Tottenham altogether.