Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder has admitted that the lack of competition for Djed Spence forced protracted transfer talks with Tottenham.
Spurs have finally got over the line in their talks for the exciting full-back. The England Under-21 international is moving to north London following a stellar season on loan at Nottingham Forest.
Spence is the sixth Tottenham signing for manager Antonio Conte this summer. He is also the second full-back addition, with former Inter man Ivan Perisic to slot in on the left.
Spence’s impressive Forest spell led to much speculation about other interest in him aside from Tottenham.
According to Boro head coach Wilder, though, Spurs were the only team keen. And that made talks harder for the initial £12.5million deal, potentially rising to £20millon.
“It’s a boost for everyone,” Wilder told Teesside Live of Spence’s move. “There has been far too much talk about it, but these deals just don’t happen overnight.
“It’s a big number for a player that has not played for us. He had a fabulous season [at Nottingham Forest], everyone knows that.
“Tottenham were the only show in town, so they could hang out, which they have done. We needed to hang out, which we have done. Eventually, a deal has been done.”
Wilder added that all parties concerned will be delighted that the deal has gone through, insisting that he is already planning for life without Spence.
Wilder lauds Spence, Tottenham transfer
“Tottenham will feel they’ve got a very good deal for a young player, we feel we’ve got a great deal to get the money we’ve got for a player who has hardly played for the first-team here,” the manager said.
“Forest didn’t come in for him, nobody else came in for him, Tottenham were the only show in town.
“So that made it quite difficult for Neil [Bausor] and Steve [Gibson] to get the right number, but they did and they’re comfortable with it.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s gone, I don’t have to speak about it again and we move on.”
Spurs capture solid signing
Conte has wasted no time at all in getting his signings in ahead of the new season.
Tottenham have a big season ahead, as they look to maintain and push on from their top-four finish while also embracing the return of the Champions League.
And it will be particularly exciting to see how the wing-backs Conte has signed adapt to his system.
Djed Spence is an excellent signing for Spurs
Spurs have agreed a deal with Middlesbrough for Djed Spence.
Wherever he has gone, one of the Italian’s trademark has been his wide defenders – who also contribute to attacks – having a huge impact on the team.
Perisic has been there and done it for Conte, the pair winning Serie A together.
But it could yet be a massive season for Spence, no doubt the biggest of the 21-year-old’s early career yet.