Since the late 2000s, Tottenham Hotspur have boasted a solid “waistline” centered around a playmaker who is creative in the middle of the park. Luka Modric for four seasons from 2008 and Christian Eriksen for seven seasons from 2013.
Not now. Since Eriksen’s departure to Inter Milan and Dele Alli’s downward spiral due to mental issues, the club has consistently expressed a desire for an attacking midfielder. Tangi Ndombele, the club’s most expensive signing in 2019, proved to be a disaster.
The current Tottenham squad has plenty of pacey midfielders, but virtually no playmakers who can deliver ‘good balls’ up front. This explains why striker Harry Kane won the assist title in 2020-21 and why the club has been constantly linked with playmaking second-choice options like James Maddison and Hakim Ziyech over the last four or five years, including the return of Eriksen.
This summer is no different. According to local media outlets such as the Express, Tottenham’s top targets this summer are a center back, goalkeeper, and attacking midfielder, with all three positions having players who can be built upon.
Spurs are keen to sign Sofiane Amrabat (26, Fiorentina), an anchorman defensive midfielder with excellent ball distribution, José Ibáñez (24, AS Roma), a commanding center back, and David Laya (27, Brentford), who has a reputation as a last-ditch playmaker.
“Tottenham have re-opened the race for Amrabat, renegotiating the transfer fee down to a minimum of €20 million ($27.6 billion),” Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported on Thursday (ET). “Tottenham are competing with Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich for Amrabat’s signature,” Fiorentina’s Lavaro Viola reported on Dec. 12.
Amrabat is a third-choice option who rose to stardom at last year’s World Cup in Qatar. The Moroccan midfielder captured the attention of soccer fans around the world as he led his team to the quarterfinals 메이저사이트.
His encouraging World Cup form carried over to the league. In 29 Serie A games in 2022-23, he recorded an 89.8% success rate on one-assisted passes, demonstrating his solid defense and precise ball distribution for the fourth consecutive season.
British outlet TalkSPORT cited multiple media reports on the same day that Tottenham are targeting €30 million for Ibanez, who has served Chris Smalling so well this season that he has become José Mourinho’s ‘go-to’ man, while the Express noted that Laya is consistently touted as a replacement for Hugo Llorente.
Ibanez, who has scored three goals in 46 official appearances this season, is a stalwart of Roma’s back three with Smalling and Gianluca Marchisio, and is a center back with the Brazilian’s trademark ‘underfoot’ discipline and bold forward passing. The Spanish international is a typical sweeper-keeper, standing at an unassuming 6-foot-2, but with the best kicking and game-orchestrating ability of any English Premier League goalkeeper.
“There was no room for a (creative) No. 10 under Antonio Conte, who favored a 3-4-3, but new manager Enzi Postecoglou, who uses a 4-3-3 as his main formation, can play with an attacking midfielder,” said the Express, “and Laya, who can play with Maddison and other playmakers at the back, will fit in well with the new manager’s style.”