Tottenham have already started trying to strengthen Antonio Conte’s squad ahead of next season with the signing of Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster. The transfer window opens on Friday and the Lilywhites have been linked with players from across the world who can give the squad depth, and provide an upgrade on players they already have.
Tottenham finished the season on a high as the Italian led them to a fourth place finish, meaning they will return to Champions League football in the next campaign. This will help Fabio Paratici, adding an extra attraction for potential new arrivals.
Josko Gvardiol is one player who has been linked with a move to Spurs. There has also been interest from Chelsea for the current Leipzig player, and reports on Wednesday stated that Man United have now joined the race.
READ MORE: Chelsea and Tottenham dealt huge Josko Gvardiol transfer blow as Manchester United enter race
football.londonreported that the 20-year-old and Alessandro Bastoni were Tottenham’s top two left-footed targets to fill in on the left of Conte’s back three, although on Wednesday, the latter’s agent said he will be staying at Inter Milan. Gvardiol is understood to be happy at his current club and his contract does not run out for another four years.
This makes Spurs’ chances of signing the defender difficult. However, if he were to move to North London, Gvardiol would be a youngster who could learn a lot from the 52-year-old, helping him develop and making him a top player for the future in N17.
Last season, Gvardiol made 29 league appearances for Leipzig, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga. The center-back also featured in both the Champions League and Europa League, with his side reaching the semi-finals of the latter.
The 20-year-old has experience winning silverware for his club, and Gvardiol has made 10 appearances for the Croatia national team since his debut last year, becoming the youngest ever player to represent Croatia at a major tournament in Euro 2020. The defender has also sparked interest from Newcastle and was named in BBC Sport’s Wunderkids XI earlier this year, which includes the best young talent across the world.
German journalist, Izak Ante Sucic was full of praise for the Tottenham target in March. “Since he was a child, he’ve been built like a tank,” he said, when speaking to the BBC.
“In Croatia we like to compare him to Virgil van Dijk, because he’s built that way. In my opinion, I think he can be as good as Virgil one day.
“When you see how he behaves on the field and off the field, he’s one of those guys where you’d say ‘he’s going to succeed’,” the journalist added. Van Dijk has become one of the best center-backs in the Premier League and is a key player for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
If there is potential seen in Gvardiol to reach the levels of the Dutchman, he could become a good addition to Conte’s side. The 20-year-old’s national manager Zlatko Dalic also commented on the defender’s versatility, which could be a further boost for the Italian.
“He’s been playing at left-back recently and has done very well, even if his main position is at center-back. But he’s shown he can play as an attacking left-back who brings a lot of quality going forward,” the 55 -year-old said.
“He’s also shown great power and energy in defensive phases, which is really impressive.” It isn’t the first time Gvardiol’s versatility has been praised.
Leipzig’s sporting director at the time of his transfer in 2020, Markus Krosche, also highlighted the 20-year-old’s ability. “We’ve signed one of the best defensive talents in Europe,” he admitted.
“As a left-footed defender, he makes us more versatile in defense. He’s still a young player, but he is very mature both as a person and a footballer.”
Gvardiol would provide Conte with more defensive options but could also become a player the Italian could rely on to step-in, if any of the back line are absent and therefore could be a good addition to the Tottenham squad.