Tottenham are reportedly keen on Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic and would match his wage demands to get a deal over the line.
Maksimovic, 29, has been with the Italian club since 2016 but rarely commanded a regular starting berth. He managed 20 Serie A starts in 2019-20 but has barely featured his term, with just seven league appearances.
The Serbia international seems primed for a move away from Naples and Spurs are poised to pounce. He has only played 55 times in the league and spent the second half of the 2017-28 campaign with Spartak Moscow.
Maksimovic will fall out of contract in the summer. He will then be available on a free transfer and it might be that Spurs bide their time.
The Premier Legue outfit seem well stocked with central defenders and a bench player for Napoli is unlikely to make that much difference.
Napoli are said to want to renew his contract but that seems unlikely. There has been no confirmation as to whether or not Jose Mourinho has made contact. But Sport Italia journalist Gianluigi Longari is adamant the north Londoners would pay the player what he wants.
“I believe that Maksimovic will go away,” he told Il Napoli Online. “On him, there are many teams ready to satisfy him even at an economic level, including Tottenham.”
The Partenopei have already moved one centre-back on in January, with Arkadiusz Milik joining Marseille. He has moved on loan for 18 months to the Ligue 1 outfit with an option to buy.
It seems unlikely that Napoli would entertain a loan for Maksimovic but other clubs are known to be keen. Both West Ham United and Fulham were linked in September but neither club were able to get a deal done.
Replacement for Alderweireld?
Toby Alderweireld has been linked with a return to the Netherlands and rumours persist he will be off in the summer. That would open the door for Maksimovic to replace the 31-year-old Belgium international.
Other names will doubtless be thrown about before then and it does seem as though there are more attractive targets. Mourinho may even turn to the academy, after praising the young talent on view.
“We are speaking about kids of 16-year-old, we are not speaking about 18 or 19, let’s say men that just need the last push. I feel that the biggest talents are very, very young,” he said.
“Of course we have to help in their development in collaboration with the academy but we have to wait a little bit more.”
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