Noel Whelan has offered his verdict on Tottenham’s reported pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic…
The one-time Premier League forward has suggested that the Lilywhites could land an upgrade on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg by bringing the 31-year-old to the club this summer.
Spurs are reportedly interested in a potential deal to bring the Bosnia international to north London ahead of next season, with Fabio Paratici exploring the possibility of signing him on a season-long loan from Barcelona, and Whelan believes it would be a good piece of business.
He told Football Insider: “I don’t think the Tottenham fans are that overwhelmed by Hojbjerg right now.
“He needs a lot of work as well in pre-season. He’s done okay in the European Championships but Pjanic is a different level to me. That’s why he’s been at Barcelona.
“I think the biggest factor is experience. You need players you can trust. The experienced players that know how to control the game, dictate a game.
“Someone who’s going to be a presence on the training ground and in the changing room, to bring that calmness and that experience to a team.”
Tottenham fans may well remember Pjanic from his performance against the club in the Champions League for Juventus in 2018. The Italian giants knocked Spurs out of the competition with a 2-1 win at Wembley to win 4-3 on aggregate.
The Bosnian played the full 90 minutes in the heart of Juventus’ midfield that night as he won one aerial battle and two tackles and completed 85% of his passes, helping to silence Mauricio Pochettino’s side by stopping their attacks through the middle and dictating the play for his own team.
Therefore, Spurs fans will already know that he has the quality to perform on the biggest stage and could adapt well to playing in the Premier League. As Whelan referenced, the 31-year-old is vastly experienced at the top level and has played more than 400 times across Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga for Lyon, Roma, Juventus and Barcelona throughout his career.
His technical quality is not in doubt, with former Roma coach Rudi Garcia once hailing the genius of Pjanic over a dead-ball after the Bosnian scored a free-kick in the Serie A, highlighting his ability on the ball.
Garcia said: “I am very happy for Adem Ljajic, and I knew at the break we’d probably struggle on set plays. Other than those, we weren’t really allowing any chances.
“How did we resolve the situation? Gave Pjanic the ball and watched him score a genius free kick.”
The £18m-rated magician has an excellent career average WhoScored rating of 7.13, a score no Tottenham midfielder was able to get near in the Premier League last season. Attacking trio Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane and Gareth Bale were the only players who achieved a higher rating throughout the entire squad.
This suggests that Pjanic could be a brilliant addition to Tottenham’s squad and that is why Paratici must sanction a loan swoop for the Barcelona man.