That’s according to a report by Football Insider, who claim that a recruitment source has revealed that Fabio Paratici has now opened talks with Middlesbrough regarding a deal for the right-back, with Antonio Conte believed to have made the Nottingham Forest loanee one of his priority targets ahead of Tottenham’s 2022/23 campaign.
However, the report goes on to state that Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal are also interested in a move for the 21-year-old, who is expected to be made available to sign for a figure of around £10m this summer.
Considering just how impressive Spence has been while on loan at Forest this season, it is not difficult to understand why Conte would be interested in a deal to bring the full-back to north London this summer.
Indeed, over his 41 Championship appearances for Steve Cooper’s side this term, the £7.2m-rated talent has been a revelation in the Reds backline, scoring two goals, registering four assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 0.6 shots, making 1.1 key passes and completing 1.8 dribbles per game.
The £4.4k-per-week right-back has also impressed in a defensive capacity, making an average of 1.5 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 0.2 blocks and winning 5.8 duels per fixture, in addition to boasting a pass completion rate of 75.8%.
These returns have seen the 21-year-old who Danny Green dubbed an “unreal player” and Neil Warnock claimed has “all the tools” average a quite astonishing WhoScored match rating of 7.06, ranking him as Forest’s sixth-best performer in the second tier – playing a key role in the Garibaldi’s run to the play-off final.
So impressive has Spence been that, following the Reds’ 1-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal back in January, Ian Wright compared the England U21 international to Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the 58-year-old stating:
“If we are talking about right-backs performing at an unbelievable level, we’re talking about Reece James and Trent, but I have not seen a combative, technical, swashbuckling performance like that for a very long time. I said to him, in all seriousness, ‘That level we saw there? You should be in the Premier League.’ Simple as that.”
And, while the Boro starlet may still be a little way off the €100m (£83m) 23-year-old’s output, there are clear comparisons between the two, with the England international scoring two goals, providing 12 assists and creating 18 big chances over his 32 Premier League outings this season, as well as making 2.8 key passes, completing 0.6 dribbles and having a pass completion rate of 78.1%.
As such, should Conte be able to convince Spence of a move to north London this summer, it would very much appear as if the Italian could have landed himself the next Alexander-Arnold, and, if the youngster is available for as little as £10m, the 21-year-old may well prove to be one of the bargains of the summer.