The reshaping of Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur squad is set to continue in the coming weeks with departures in the midfield and replacements eyed.
The arrival of Yves Bissouma from Brighton last week bolstered the Italian’s midfield options and is set to trigger the departure of Harry Winks ahead of the coming season. football.london reported last week that Conte had rebuffed a couple of attempts by Everton to sign Winks in January, before and after Frank Lampard’s arrival.
This summer Spurs are willing to listen to offers for the 26-year-old and Everton are understood to have made their intention to sign him clear once again, although they are yet to agree a fee for the England international. The Toffees’ Financial Fair Play struggles mean they could do with getting players off the books in order to fund Lampard’s summer transfer plans and they are expected to seek an initial loan move for Winks but their struggles could also help Tottenham with one player they admire within their ranks.
Ajax are yet to agree a fee with Spurs for Steven Bergwijn, who has declared his desire to leave the club this summer, but a deal is eventually expected and Conte wants a replacement brought in as he seeks two top quality players for every position. Bergwijn’s role was competing on the left with Son Heung-min, with Dejan Kulusevski and Lucas Moura duelling on the other flank.
Lucas’ ability to switch flanks opens up the possibility to a new winger arriving for either the left or right, with newcomer Ivan Perisic also able to play on either flank as well as at left wing-back. Young Spanish winger Bryan Gil is expected to head out of the club again this summer after his loan at Valencia as are fellow returnees Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele.
There seems to be a Brazilian theme to some of the wingers Spurs hold an interest in. Everton’s Richarlison has a firm admirer in Tottenham’s managing director of football Fabio Paratici and the player reportedly wants to leave the Liverpool club and Spurs’ interest in the £50million-rated attacker plus his side’s need to raise funds that could spark movement as the window rolls on.
Richarlison provided 10 goals and five assists from 30 Premier League matches despite Everton’s struggles last season and the 25-year-old’s versatilitys to Spurs as he can play on the left or up front as a lone striker, solving two issues within the north London side’s squad as they seek support for Harry Kane. Richarlison is represented now by CAA Base, an agency with close links to Tottenham, and is in the final two years of his contract.
The alternative to Richarlison high on Spurs’ list is his Brazil team-mate Rafinha, who netted 11 goals for struggling Leeds and contributed three assists. The 25-year-old predominantly plays on the right-hand side but can fill in on the left and in a support role up front if required. The Leeds man is believed to favor a move to Barcelona, with reports that he has also agreed personal terms with the Catalan club, but their financial struggles make a rumoured £65million price tag unrealistic.
Arsenal are understood to have had a bid rejected for Raphinha while Spurs and Chelsea are expected to firm up their interest in the player, which could spark a London battle for the services of a player who has two years remaining on his contract. While Richarlison would fit the striker role as well, if Tottenham were to move for the Leeds man then they would also likely need to sign a striker.
Another Brazilian that Paratici has held an interest in is 24-year-old Lyonplayer Lucas Paqueta. The versatile attacker scored 11 goals and laid on seven assists last season and can play centrally in a deeper role, as a number 10, out on the right or up front. Newcastle attempted in January to sign Paqueta, who has a contract with the Ligue 1 club until 2025.
The Brazilian theme continues in the headlines with Ajax star Antony, with the 22-year-old linked with both Manchester United and Spurs in recent weeks after recording 12 goals and 10 assists last season. He also has three years left on his contract with the Eredivisie club, but Spurs are not currently expected to rival United for his signature.
Completing the boys from Brazil is Manchester City attacker Gabriel Jesus. Spurs have held an interest in the 25-year-old but are not planning a bid for the player, leaving the door open for Arsenal to secure his signature.
Conte is looking for new signings who can hit the ground running and, away from Brazil, Tottenham have looked at other Premier League players including Newcastle star Allan Saint-Maximin and long-time target Adama Traore, who is now in the final year of his contract at Wolves but struggled on loan at Barcelona and has most recently been linked with Leeds.
On the British homegrown front, Paratici has watched Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson this season as the 21-year-old Nottingham-born Wales international netted 19 goals and provided nine assists to take his team into the Premier League. Johnson can play on either flank, as a support striker or up front and has just a year left on his contract, but the Forest academy product is currently expected to remain at his club next season for their return to the top flight.
Spurs have also held a long-time interest in Leicester City star James Maddison, who posted fine figures of 18 goals and 12 assists last season. The 25-year-old, another CAA Base client, can play centrally – advanced or deeper – on either flank or as a support striker. He has two years left on his contract but has publicly stated his desire to stay at the Foxes next season.
Other targets will emerge as opportunities suddenly arise and doors open. Tottenham’s firepower last season was widely lauded with the trio of Son, Kane and Kulusevski but with the Champions League on the menu as well as a Premier League charge, Conte wants to increase the weapons in his armoury.