There’s less than a month left of the transfer window for Premier League clubs as time begins to run out for deals to be done, with the new season set to get underway on August 14.
It’s been a relatively quiet transfer window with clubs feeling the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic, though business is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks as Premier League sides bid to finalise their squads ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
We’ve decided to assess the state of play at the Premier League’s leading clubs, starting with Tottenham’s needs before the closure of the transfer window on August 31.
What’s happened during the summer so far?
The biggest obstacle in terms of incomings for Spurs proved the recruitment of a new manager, with the club’s seemingly never-ending pursuit of a Jose Mourinho successor resulting in the appointment of former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Spurs have also moved to appoint a new sporting director in ex-Juventus chief Fabio Paratici, who after settling into the office has set about restructuring a squad in desperate need of a refresh.
Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini has arrived on a season-long loan deal to provide genuine competition for Hugo Lloris, whilst promising winger Bryan Gil has been acquired from Sevilla with £21.3m and Erik Lamela heading to Spain in exchange.
In terms of exits, Lamela has been joined in leaving north London by defensive duo Juan Foyth and Toby Alderweireld, the sales of the centre-backs bringing in around £25m to add to the transfer chest.
Danny Rose and Paulo Gazzaniga have joined Watford and Fulham on free transfers after their contracts were not renewed, whilst loanees Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale have returned to Benfica and Real Madrid respectively.
Who could arrive before the transfer deadline?
The signing of at least one new centre-back remains the major priority for Paratici and Tottenham over what remains of the transfer window, with Atalanta’s Cristian Romero emerging as the club’s leading target
Romero was named as Serie A’s best defender during the 2020/21 season and ranked amongst the division’s top ten players for clearances, aerial duels won and interceptions.
Spurs have also held talks with Bologna over Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is comfortable at right-back and centrally, with the departure of Alderweireld heightening the need for defensive reinforcements.
The signing of a new forward should also be on the agenda following the departures of loanees Vinicius and Bale, new manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s options threadbare and lacking specialist cover for Harry Kane – whose own future is uncertain.
Southampton’s Danny Ings – who has entered the final year of his contract at St Mary’s – has been reported as a transfer target, though the Saints are reportedly reluctant to engage in business following a fall-out from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s switch to Spurs last summer.
Dusan Vlahovic has emerged as a potential addition but would cost a significant sum following a brilliant breakout season at Fiorentina, whilst Simy – scorer of 20 league goals for relegated Crotone last season – has also been mentioned and could be more attainable as Paratici utilises his knowledge of Italian football.
Who could leave?
The huge elephant in the room remains the future of Harry Kane, who has informed the club of his desire to leave in search of the silverware that has eluded him in his career to date.
Manchester City have seen an opening offer of around £100m rejected for the England captain, with Spurs in a strong negotiating position given the 28-year-old has three years remaining on his current contract.
Kane has refused to return to Tottenham training this week as he pushes for an exit, though City face the prospect of dealing with one of the Premier League’s toughest negotiators in Daniel Levy.
Speculation has suggested a bid of £160m would be enough to get a deal done, but it remains to be seen whether City are prepared to go that high and Spurs will want the funds in quickly should their talisman depart.
Elsewhere, none of the players to have departed Spurs so far this summer – Alderweireld aside – made more than 20 league appearances last term, with both Rose and Gazzaniga failing to make a Premier League appearance.
Joe Hart’s single season spell at Spurs looks set to come to an end following the arrival of Gollini, with the former England number one close to a move to Celtic.
Elsewhere, Harry Winks’ future appears uncertain with the midfielder having fallen from a regular position in the England squad to peripheral member of the Tottenham team, the arrival of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg last summer having restricted his opportunities.
Winks will attract significant interest from elsewhere in the Premier League should Spurs be open to his sale, Everton and Crystal Palace amongst those credited with an interest in recent weeks. The club are also reportedly open to offers for Moussa Sissoko and Davinson Sanchez, the latter having reportedly been offered in part-exchange during talks for transfer targets.
Dream signing – Cristian Romero
Tottenham’s greatest need will hinge on Kane’s future, with the potential departure of the England captain changing the complexion of the side and leaving a huge void at centre-forward.
Daniel Levy remains determined to hold onto the 28-year-old and should Kane remain in north London it is centre-back that is the position most in need of strengthening.
Negotiations are already well underway for Atalanta centre-back Romero and the Argentine would instantly improve the Spurs backline, a position currently home to a whole host of unconvincing options.
Davinson Sanchez has failed to develop as hoped and Eric Dier has failed to shine since deciding centre-back was the role he wanted to focus on, whilst both Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga are inexperienced at the highest level.
Romero was named ahead as Serie A’s best defender last season, a centre-back in the ‘stopper’ mould who relishes aerial duels, whilst only N’Golo Kante averaged more interceptions per 90 minutes across Europe’s top five leagues last season.
Talented enough to improve the current side and with the potential to improve further, Romero is the perfect profile for a new addition at centre-back and his aggressive manner of demanding will make him a fans’ favourite.
However, the Argentine will need to curb his often over-zealous manner of defending on occasion, having picked up a huge 33 yellow cards across the past three Serie A seasons.
Atalanta’s loan move for Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral could pave the way for Romero to complete a move to the Premier League.