Tottenham transfers: Pushing hard for Perisic, Eriksen return possible, Bastoni still a key target

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With the bulk of Tottenham £ 150 million cash injection expected to be spent on new players, there’s a huge amount of excitement about the upcoming transfer window.

Antonio Conte has made no secret of how much investment he thinks is needed in the team to turn them from top-four challengers into a side that can go after the biggest titles. And Spurs are expected to back him with around half-a-dozen signings, taking in a mix of younger and more experienced players. Center-back, left and right wing-back, central midfield and striker are all areas they are hoping to strengthen.

TIMES The Athletic breaks down Tottenham’s priority areas this summer (outgoings as well as incomings), how they’re planning to operate, and looks at some of the names being discussed by the club’s decision makers ahead of the window opening.


Starting with the goalkeeper position, this is all done and dusted. neither The Athletic reported earlier this week, Fraser Forster has already visited Hotspur Way for his Tottenham medical and will officially join the club after his Southampton contract expires on June 30. He will provide backup to Hugo Lloris, is homegrown and at 34 offers plenty of Premier League experience . Pierluigi Gollini returns to Atalanta after his underwhelming loan spell.

Next through the door could well be Croatian left wing-back Ivan Perisic, who Conte is keen to be reunited with having worked with him to great effect at Inter.

The defense has been very strong in recent weeks, with just five goals conceded in 11 matches, but it is still an area that Conte wants to strengthen. As it stands Ben Davies is his only left-sided center-back and as The Athletic revealed in early April, this is a position Conte has been looking at for some time.

Inter’s Alessandro Bastoni and Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig are still the main targets but neither would be an easy deal to pull off.

Bastoni, 23, is a big Inter fan, the club’s best young player, and someone who they are desperate not to sell. They would demand a big fee of around £ 50 million and although Conte has worked with the defender before and is a big admirer, Spurs may not want to spend so much of the budget on him. Gvardiol, a 20-year-old Croatian, would likely be even more expensive given his age. But after spending big on Cristian Romero last summer and seeing how well that panned out, there is a compelling argument to say one of these two could provide value for money. You’d be hard pushed to find anyone complaining about the .5 42.5 million it cost to bring in the Argentine.

Torino’s Gleison Bremer is another central defender under consideration, though he is right-footed.


Gvardiol won the German cup with RB Leipzig this season (Photo: Getty)

It will be even more tempting to go big on a new center-back if Spurs can find cheaper options in other areas of need. Left wing-back is one such position, where Spurs are pushing hard to sign Perisic, 33 and a free agent as of next month. Failing that, there is also Eintracht Frankfurt’s Filip Kostic, 29 and out of contract in 2023. Both players fit into the bracket of experienced, proven players who could slot straight into the side and Conte would be able to trust. While at Inter, Conte converted Perisic into a left wing-back. The Croatian is currently weighing up a new contract offer from Inter, but there is increasing confidence at Tottenham that a deal can be done.

Conte would also like a new right wing-back, and Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence is someone Spurs have admired for a while. Once his season on loan at Nottingham Forest finishes this weekend, Spurs will be able to get more clarity on his intentions. Spurs are also considering going in for Adama Traore for a third time.

In midfield, Conte wants someone who can move the ball quicker up the pitch and Christian Eriksen, another he managed at Inter, is someone he is keen on. Given he recently turned 30 and following the events of last summer there would be an element of risk involved and the high chance of minimal to low sell-on value, but there is an acceptance from managing director of football Fabio Paratici and the Spurs hierarchy that exceptions to buying young should be made in exceptional circumstances. An Eriksen Spurs homecoming could be one such circumstance. Tottenham also retain a long-standing interest in James Ward-Prowse, but the new contract he signed last summer would likely make any possible deal prohibitively expensive.

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Up front, Tottenham want to resolve the perennial issue of the lack of a back-up to Harry Kane. Gabriel Jesus is an option but even with only a year left on his contract Manchester City are in no rush to sell and will demand a considerable fee for his services. Tottenham are expected to look elsewhere after loaning out young strikers Dane Scarlett and Troy Parrott (once they trigger the year extension in the Irishman’s contract to the summer of 2024). The need is not quite so pressing in the immediate term given Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski’s ability to fill in at center-forward if necessary. It may be then that Spurs do not bring in a striker until after the season has started, and it’s worth saying that although Tottenham are hoping to do as much business early as possible to have players ready for the tour of South Korea in early- to mid-July, that is not always possible. There are a number of moving parts in most deals and it may be that Spurs are able to get a few quick deals done but then have to wait until closer to the end of the window for some of the others.

Some of Tottenham’s business will depend on who they can sell, and it promises to be a busy summer in this regard as well. neither The Athletic reported earlier this month, there is an acceptance that Spurs will have to accept lower fees than they have done previously and resign themselves to making losses on players they signed in a pre-COVID world. Those involved in top-level recruitment stress that there simply is not the money in foreign leagues, even ones like La Liga, for teams other than superclubs to be spending big. Even a club like Villarreal, fresh from reaching the Champions League semi-final, are still pushing for loans wherever possible.


Lo Celso shone on Villarreal’s run to the Champions League semi-finals (Photo: Getty)

Villarreal has relevance to Spurs as it is where Giovani Lo Celso has just enjoyed a successful loan spell. They are among a number of Spanish clubs interested in the midfielder, who Conte does not deem part of his plans and wants to sell. Lo Celso will almost certainly leave this summer, but for it to be a permanent deal rather than a loan, Spurs will probably have to accept around half of the total £ 40 million they paid Real Betis.

Tanguy Ndombele will represent an even bigger loss as it is impossible to imagine anyone going close to the £ 55 million Tottenham spent three years ago. Fresh from a mixed loan spell at Lyon, Tottenham will do all they can to move him on this summer.

Then there’s Steven Bergwijn, who Conte likes but accepts will want to play more regularly elsewhere. Ajax is the most likely destination given how they pursued the player in January and retain a long-standing interest, and Spurs will probably have to accept less than the £ 20.8 million they demand for the forward then.

Sergio Reguilon is also expected to be sold to free up space for a new left wing-back, while on the right both Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty are dispensable despite much-improved performances in the second half of the season. Defenders Joe Rodon and Davinson Sanchez will also both be allowed to leave at the right price.

This could also be the summer that Harry Winks moves on, with both Southampton and Newcastle understood to be interested.

Bryan Gil will be allowed to leave on loan to help continue to prepare for the rigors of the Premier League, while Japhet Tanganga will have plenty of offers for a loan if it’s decided that it would be best for his development.

There will be loans to sort for a number of the younger players as well, including the highly-rated Alfie Devine, as Tottenham get to work on what promises to be one of their busiest summers in recent memory.

Additional reporting: James Horncastle

(Photos: Getty Images; design: Sam Richardson)

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