Djed Spence has admitted that playing in the Premier League is a major ambition, amid transfer interest from Arsenal and Tottenham.
The Middlesbrough full-back is starring on a season-long loan at Nottingham Forest, where he has stood out on the right flank. Some of his particularly memorable performances have come in the FA Cup.
Spence played every minute of Forest’s run to the quarter-final, as they defeated Arsenal, Leicester and Huddersfield Town.
And despite the subsequent defeat to Liverpool, Championship side Forest are firmly in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League. In fact, he could yet play in the top-flight season with Middlesbrough, who are also eyeing a play-off spot.
Spence further caught the eye on Tuesday when he made his England Under-21 debut. And he is therefore targeting another career step up with a move to the Premier League.
Speaking after his England bow, he told the Daily Mirror: “I always want to push myself and play with the best players and best team.
“Of course it’s an ambition of mine to play in the Premier League. I try to stay level-headed. I don’t read too much into it.
“At the end of the day, I’m just here to enjoy my football. I need to stay focused, have tunnel vision and play well on the pitch.”
Spurs and Arsenal both want Djed Spence
Middlesbrough have set their asking price of £20 million for Djed Spence, with both Spurs and Arsenal interested.
Furthermore, German champions Bayern Munich have reportedly pencilled in talks with the player’s camp.
Despite focusing on his football, Spence admitted that Forest head coach Steve Cooper is strengthening his belief in his own talents.
“He says: ‘Just believe in yourself. Go out there with the right attitude to play’,” Spence said of Cooper. “‘Do the right things first and then your talent takes over.’
“That’s the main thing I’ve learnt, just doing things right. The rest, your talent will take over. It’s been a good season. The manager who has come in has done well with the group of players and we’ve all believed in what he’s come here to do. It’s going well.”
Spence can earn more rave reviews
Spence has already made headlines on both the domestic and international stages this season.
However, he can top it off by helping Forest clinch long-awaited promotion back to the Premier League.
Forest currently sit ninth, two places and a point behind Spence’s parent club Middlesbrough. Forest are a further two points off the play-offs.
Spence’s Boro contract runs out in the summer of 2024, so the North East club do have some negotiating leverage over a transfer fee.
However, it seems more likely that he will leave this summer if Boro or Forest do not make it to the top flight.