Tottenham backed to cut ties with summer signing in January as Antonio Conte has final say
A former Tottenham player reckons Tottenham could let Djed Spence leave for another club in the January transfer window due to Antonio Conte not giving him many opportunities.
Spence was loaned to Nottingham Forest last season by fellow Championship side Middlesbrough. He had a fantastic campaign and made 39 league appearances as Steve Cooper’s side gained promotion to the Premier League.
Forest were heavily linked with a permanent bid for the right-back. However, the Reds never made an offer and instead went after alternative defenders.
They brought in Neco Williams and Giulian Biancone, from Liverpool and Troyes respectively. Serge Aurier also arrived at the City Ground on a free transfer after the summer window had shut.
Spence, meanwhile, went on to join Tottenham. According to the Daily Mail, the move was worth £20million. This saw Boro make a significant profit on the Englishman as he joined them on a free transfer from Fulham U18s in July 2018.
Spence arrived in north London with great promise after putting in some fantastic performances with Forest. However, his Spurs career has never really got going.
The day after his arrival, Conte made a concerning admission about him being a signing for the club, rather than the manager’s own choice.
Conte said at a press conference: “Spence is an investment of the club. The club wanted to do it.
“I said ‘OK, this player is young but he showed he can become a good, important player for us’. The club decided to buy him.”
This immediately put Spence’s future in doubt. He appeared unlikely to get much game time under a manager that didn’t actually want him to join.
And this is exactly what has happened. The 22-year-old has played just once in all competitions so far this term. And that appearance lasted just one minute as he came off the bench in the dying seconds against Forest.
Pundit predicts January exit for Djed Spence
Alan Hutton, who made 66 outings for Spurs during his playing days, thinks Spurs could cut ties with Spence and allow him to go out on loan in January.
During an interview with Football Insider, the pundit said: “It is a weird one. When Spence signed, I thought he was a great talent. He was brilliant at Nottingham Forest. I thought he was ready for the Premier League.
“But then you hear Antonio Conte coming out and saying it was not his signing, it was a club signing and one for the future.
“It has not gone to plan for Spence which is a shame because he has ability. If this continues towards January he is going to have to look to get out on loan and play. He is too good to sit on the bench.
“You do not want that to affect him moving forward. He will want to be playing week in, week out. If that means going out on loan and coming back a better player so be it.”
Hutton is right – Spence desperately needs game time. At 22, he cannot afford to sit on the bench and risk jeopardising his development.
A loan move away from Spurs would be perfect. It would allow him to get back up to full confidence and potentially impress Spurs officials in the process.
Then, he could return to the club next summer and potentially force his way into the starting eleven. That just isn’t possible right now under Conte.
Meanwhile, Spurs have reportedly put an exciting Sassuolo midfielder on their transfer shortlist, though Brighton want him too.