Tottenham have two routes to the signing of a Serie A midfielder tipped to replace an expensive flop, and have reportedly launched their first approach.
Spurs began the season in fine fettle when notching three successive 1-0 victories. However, a dose of reality was administered on Saturday when Tottenham fell to old nemesis Patrick Vieira and his Crystal Palace side 3-0.
Tottenham are a work in progress under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo. Indeed, their headline summer acquisition, Cristian Romero, is yet to establish himself at the heart of their defence.
It is in central midfield where the latest report concerns, however. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp have been the preferred pairing in the engine room, though adequate depth beyond the duo is sorely lacking.
Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Winks are on the books, but Ndombele’s future in particular is far from certain.
The 24-year-old outlined his desire to leave North London while the transfer window was open. He was then reported to have been offered to Barcelona in the deal that brought Emerson Royal to England, though the Spaniards preferred an outright sale.
Now, the Sun report Tottenham have proceeded with attempting to buy Ndombele’s replacement despite the £55.45m signing remaining on the books.
Citing Italian outlet Calciomercato, they claim Tottenham have ‘made an offer’ for AC Milan’s Franck Kessie.
The midfield general, 24, is in the final year of his deal at the San Siro. That has led to links emerging with English trio Tottenham Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as PSG. Milan are understood to be keen to hand him a new deal, but their first offer has proven unsatisfactory.
£82,000-per-week has reportedly been offered. The outlet claims Kessie desires £30,000-a-week more.
Matching the Ivorian’s wage demands will not be a problem for Tottenham. It’s stated they are prepared to go as high as £130,000-per-week.
Whether Kessie would be open to moving to Tottenham remains in question. He previously outlined his desire to remain in Milan. But if Spurs can foster a change of heart, a permanent transfer in January is mooted.
If Tottenham are unable to convince Kessie to sign, a second approach in the form of a free agent swoop is speculated. That avenue would see Spurs forced to compete with a host of other clubs with equal or greater spending power, however.
Regardless, Milan will be doing everything they can to resist Tottenham’s advances. Indeed, AC boss Stefano Pioli seemed relaxed when recently discussing Kessie’s future.
“I would like Kessie to sign,” said Pioli (via Football London). “The negotiations go on between the club and his agent, I don’t think this is the time to worry.
“With Franck I only talk about matters relating to the pitch and I always see him as positive and serene. There are no problems.”
Cagliari preference gives Tottenham transfer jolt
Meanwhile, Tottenham have been presented with a golden chance to finally land a transfer target in January after reportedly being told that his club are in desperate need to cash in.
One man Tottenham looked at over the summer was Cagliari midfielder Nahitan Nandez. Spurs held a series of talks over a prospective deal with the Serie A side as the clock ticked towards the deadline.
However, with Cagliari reportedly setting their demands too high, no agreement was reached between the clubs. Indeed, Cagliari were reportedly seeking a fee worth €26m for the Uruguay schemer.
That ultimately proved too steep for Spurs to match. But there remains hope that a compromise can be reached ahead of the January window.
Indeed, as per Tuttomercato, the Serie A side are now willing to sell to Spurs for the ‘best price possible’. Furthermore, they report that Cagliari chief Stefano Capozucca is ready to sell in the winter window for as much as they can.
The article claims Napoli, Roma and Fiorentina are also monitoring developments. However, Cagliari’s preference is to deal with Spurs and not to directly strengthen a Serie A rival.