Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham can sign sturdy defensive enforcer in January for £10m as Antonio Conte eyes upgrade

Stefan De Vrij playing for Inter

Tottenham Hotspur might yet be able to sign a defender that Antonio Conte would gladly welcome to north London earlier than expected, according to reports.

Since Conte’s appointment at Tottenham in November 2021, the club have been busy in the transfer market. Several players have signed up to improve the options at the head coach’s disposal.

Likewise, there has been plenty of outbound movement. Hence, the squad is still under evolution and there are areas Conte might yet prefer to upgrade.

One position under the microscope is their defence. They signed Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona in the summer to provide themselves with a left-footed option for the back three.

However, there have already been predictions that Lenglet may not be kept around on a permanent basis. Hence, Tottenham might be looking for an upgrade in his role.

One player they have been frequently linked with since Conte took charge is Stefan de Vrij. The Netherlands international won Serie A with Tottenham’s head coach during their time together at Inter Milan.

De Vrij’s stint there could end next year, since his contract is due to expire in June. Tottenham have been predicted as one of the candidates for his signature on a free transfer.

Although they will not be alone in the race to sign him – Manchester United and Newcastle are alternative suitors, it is believed – the presence of Conte could help. With that in mind, the news that Tottenham are trying to extend their head coach’s stay could be doubly positive.

There is now a feeling, though, that Tottenham might even be able to take De Vrij before his contract expires.

According to Football Insider, there is a chance for them to do business in January. During the winter transfer window, Inter might be willing to sell the former Lazio man for around £10million.

Their finances have been under scrutiny once more, so it may make sense to cash in while they can. Hence, De Vrij could earn a transfer to the Premier League, where Tottenham are waiting to take him.

De Vrij worth investing in if Conte stays

Although right footed, De Vrij can operate in any of the three centre-back roles in Conte’s system. Therefore, the Italian tactician remains keen on luring him to the English capital.

With contract talks with Inter not going so smoothly, Tottenham will hope De Vrij’s situation remains like this by January. Then, they could either negotiate a pre-contract agreement with him to take him in July, or act more quickly to enjoy his services for the second half of the season.

The decision might depend on where they are in the table by that point. It has been a positive start to the season; Spurs are third in the Premier League after nine matches. They have only lost once.

But if they need a boost to help get them over the line, adding De Vrij early might make sense. It would reduce the risk of him ending up elsewhere by the summer.

And at the age of 30 still, he could be worth investing in, even if a deal might be short term. Perhaps the priority for Tottenham, though, should be securing Conte’s future first so they know how to plan.

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