Chris Wilder has confirmed Tottenham Hotspur’s interest in Djed Spence, who “obviously” doesn’t want to play for Middlesbrough next season.
Djed Spence was a member of the Nottingham Forest squad that won promotion to the Premier League in 2021-22. However, he did so while on loan from Middlesbrough. Hence, his future is up for grabs going into the summer.
Forest would obviously like to keep him on a permanent basis. But Spence has earned admirers at an even higher level. For example, Tottenham have been showing a strong interest.
Antonio Conte loves a wing-back signing. Therefore, he could target Spence for the right-hand side of his defence, where Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty have struggled for consistency.
The 21-year-old would be a long-term solution if he can adapt to a club of Champions League level. Whether he is capable of competing there remains unclear, but he certainly seems ready for a bigger stage than the Championship.
However, Middlesbrough manager Wilder has reminded that Spence is under their control as things stand. But he will not stand in the full-back’s way and cannot hide the fact he wants to leave the club.
“If nothing happens with Djed, then he’s our player and he’ll be back for pre-season,” Wilder told the Northern Echo.
“From my point of view, negotiations between Kieran (Scott), Neil (Bausor), Steve (Gibson) and Tottenham stay between Kieran, Neil, Steve and Tottenham.
“If the deal doesn’t get done, we’ll see where we go from there. Have I got an input into it? Yeah, 100 per cent.
‘Obviously doesn’t want to come back’
“The boy obviously doesn’t want to come back here, which I’ve got absolutely no issue with. He obviously sees his future away from here, and he had a brilliant season last season.
“We’re expecting that deal to happen, but if it doesn’t, then he’s our player. From a club point of view, the deal has to be right. We’re not trying to stand in the way of anybody. I’ve never done that as a manager, and I’ve had plenty of situations before where opportunities have come along to players.
Djed Spence wanted man as Nottingham Forest gain promotion
Right back Djed Spence is a man in demand as Middlesbrough prepare for multiple offers for Nottingham Forest full back
“But there’s always three parties involved in any deal, and it’s got to be right for all three parties for it to happen. It’s got to be right for the player, and obviously from the noises, it sounds as though that’s (Spurs) where he wants to go.
“Tottenham want him, and we’re prepared for that. But it’s got to be right for us too. It all needs to marry up.”
Middlesbrough only selling Djed Spence on their terms
Reports have suggested there is a significant gap between how Tottenham and Middlesbrough value Spence.
Indeed, Wilder has confirmed the north Yorkshire side will not be taken advantage of when it comes to selling the star man.
“We’re a reasonable football club,” he explained. “But some of the numbers you sometimes get quoted are ridiculous and we’re not going to allow anyone to take advantage of us.
“We got quoted £20-25m for a forward playing in the Championship recently, but we didn’t think that was a fair number. We’re prepared to pay fair numbers, as we always have done, but we’re not going to be silly, and we’re certainly not going to be giving our players away for a fee we don’t think is right.
“Ultimately, Djed’s our player.”
Spence still has terms until 2024 at the Riverside.