Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Agreed deal makes life difficult for Conte with Tottenham transfer costing more than first thought

Atalanta midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi

A long-awaited Tottenham transfer in January will cost more than first thought after a journalist reported the ink has dried on an agreement that makes life for Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici more difficult.

A more dynamic central midfielder is believed to be on Spurs’ radar next month. Pierre-Emeile Hojbjerg, Yves Bissouma and Rodrigo Bentancur are all fine players in their own right, though all lack creativity.

Conte deploys two or even three of the midfield destroyers at the same time depending on whether he chooses a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 formation. The end result has been a one-paced feel to Tottenham’s attacks and their forward line haven’t had as many opportunities to shine as they’d like.

To remedy the issue, moves for a series of box-to-box midfielders or playmakers are being explored.

Juventus pair Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie, and Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister have all been linked of late.

However, Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi is a player who’s been on Spurs’ radar for some time and rumours of a 2023 switch continue to persist. Indeed, a January swoop for a fee in the region of £15m has been touted.

The Ukraine international, 29, has only provided four goal contributions so far this season, though returned 17 in 41 matches for Atalanta last term. Malinovskyi was also Serie A’s top assister with 12 in the 2020-21 campaign the year before.

It was widely reported Malinovskyi’s contract in Bergamo would expire next summer. As such, the January transfer window represented Atalanta’s last chance to cash in if a new deal wasn’t in the works.

Atalanta make life difficult for Tottenham

However, according to an Italian journalist, not only do Atalanta hold an option for an extra 12 months, but the Serie A side have triggered it.

If true, Atalanta have protected their investment and are in no danger of the player signing a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs in January.

What’s more, it means Atalanta can stiffen their resolve and command a higher transfer fee, or at the very least stand firm on the reported £15m valuation.

A sum of that size isn’t all that high in relative terms for a club like Tottenham. However, Malinovskyi is 29 and there don’t appear to be any other suitors – two red flags that might make Spurs think twice if made to pay full price.

The reporter added a January sale could still be on the cards, though it’ll now be on Atalanta’s terms with their position strengthened by the contract extension.

READ MORE: Vital Tottenham man ‘has spoken with’ LaLiga giant about replacing club icon, with exit decision his to make