Tottenham Hotspur appear to be closing in on the signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but might they have the wrong man?
According to Sky Sports, Spurs are ‘edging closer’ to landing the Saints midfielder after a £15m bid, and despite not meeting their £25m valuation, the club could use Kyle Walker-Peters as bait for the deal.
It’s not the only name that the north Londoners have been linked with for the defensive anchor role, something that is certainly a need given Eric Dier’s switch to central defence.
None of Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Giovani Lo Celso or Tanguy Ndombele are specialists in that sense.
Although, the best option could actually be Valencia defensive midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, especially with the La Liga outfit reportedly putting almost their entire squad up for sale – including the Frenchman.
It means Spurs could land themselves a bargain if they choose to make the most of Valencia’s desperate financial situation. He was linked with a €30m (£27m) exit in April, but clearly circumstances have changed drastically.
In fact, Kondogbia seems better primed for a role heralding the back four than Hojbjerg. Yes, the Dane may edge tackle numbers – but only just with 0.1 attempts per game separating the two.
The 27-year-old has managed more interceptions (2.1), fewer fouls (1.1) and times dribbled past (1.2) than Hojbjerg. He’s also more accurate with the ball having notched a passing success rate of 84.1%, even when firing more long balls per game, via WhoScored.
“Kondogbia is like Pogba. They play the same position. He has to win his personal duels and keep things simple, but he has all the characteristics needed to become a top player. He is still young and has room for improvement. But he is physically strong and has a lot of quality. He has to keep working on details to improve.”
With the south coast side demanding £25m for their former skipper, a move for Kondogbia on the cheap would not just suit Daniel Levy’s tight pockets, but also Mourinho’s system.
AND in other news, Spurs can finally replace Eriksen with “gifted” £10m transfer target…