Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has reportedly narrowed down his centre-back search to just three names as he looks to strengthen his injury-hit squad in January.
A signing of a new central defender was always going to be one of the first things of Spurs’ list in the new year, especially after they sold Davinson Sanchez and let Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga late in the summer window without bringing in an experienced replacement.
Ashley Phillips was signed from Blackburn, but he is currently regarded as a work in progress and Postecoglou has turned to Eric Dier and Ben Davies in his hour of need.
Things were looking almost too good to be true when Tottenham sat top of the Premier League with 10 games gone, with the central defensive partnership of Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven arguably the pairing of the season so far.
However, everything collapsed on Mauricio Pochettino’s return to north London with his Chelsea side as Romero was sent-off and subsequently banned for three games, while the outstanding Van de Ven tore his hamstring just before half-time of the 4-1 loss.
The Dutchman is not expected to return until the middle of January at the earliest, while Romero will still be banned for Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa and the trip to Manchester City a week later.
The absence of those two hit hard as Tottenham suffered a late defeat at Wolves in their last outing, with Dier and Davies paired together centrally.
And while the latter played well and was named man-of-the-match, despite the loss, Dier struggled with the pace and movement of the Wolves attackers and showed why Postecoglou has been reluctant to throw him into the action before that Chelsea debacle.
Therefore, the Australian wants to get a quality third centre-back option on board and appears to have nailed down a trio of preferred options.
Crystal Palace star Guehi has now established himself as a firm member of Gareth Southgate’s England squad and started both their Euro 2024 qualifiers over the most recent international break.
The 23-year-old has the one main thing Postecoglou wants from his defenders in that he has tremendous pace, perfect for playing the high line that the Australian loves.
As for Everton’s Branthwaite, he has been tipped to leave Goodison for some time, with Manchester United still heavily tipped to sign the giant centre-back.
Talks for Uruguay star already in the works
And while AC Milan’s Malick Thiaw, Morato of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio are also names linked, they are deemed more difficult to strike deals for.
So that leads us to the final name, and potentially the most likely of the trio in Club America and Uruguay star Sebastian Caceres.
The 24-year-old has attracted interest from Spurs over the last month and his displays for his nation have only placed more eyes on him.
According to South American journalist Fernando Esquivel, negotiations had been initiated by the north Londoners. It’s said that Tottenham ‘would have sent’ a formal offer to Club America, with a deal viewed as a ‘definitive transfer’.
The player himself is also said to have given the thumbs-up to the move and a January deal could well be on the cards.
The new year window will certainly be an interesting one for Tottenham and Postecoglou, as they also look to bring in another striker as well.