Tottenham face battle to sign Chelsea star, with Euro giant ‘the frontrunners’ for deal

Date published: Thursday 25th November 2021 3:40 - James Holland

Tottenham target Antonio Rudiger greeting Chelsea team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta 2021

Tottenham will have to fend off one of Europe’s biggest clubs if they want to land a top Chelsea star next year, according to reports.

The north London side’s transfer strategy will change somewhat following the arrival of Antonio Conte. The serial winner, 52, will likely want to bring in new players to match his 3-5-2 formation.

Conte has great knowledge of Serie A thanks to title-winning spells at Juventus and Inter Milan. Director Fabio Paratici joins him on that front, having spent 11 years at Juve before leaving in May.

It came as little surprise when American midfielder Weston McKennie, who has been in Turin since September last year, became a Tottenham target. The 23-year-old would add plenty of quality to Conte’s midfield, while also competing with the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp.

Recent reports claim that a deal worth £29million could be agreed as early as January.

Conte is not only looking at Juve for new signings, but also his first club in England – Chelsea. The Italian had two years at Stamford Bridge, winning the Premier League and an FA Cup.

Last week, reports emerged stating that the Tottenham boss was hoping to land Antonio Rudiger from the Blues.

They believe he will be open to crossing London once his contract expires in June. Chelsea are desperate to tie the Germany international down but are yet to reach an agreement.

However, Spurs will not have it all their own way. Goal write that Spanish giants Real Madrid are ‘leading the race’ to secure Rudiger’s signature on a free.

Los Blancos want the 28-year-old to fill the gaping hole in their defence left by Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos.

Paratici may have to pull off an extreme charm offensive if Spurs are to beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side to the centre-half.

Rudiger has made 17 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions this season, scoring two goals.

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Conte ‘likes’ Man Utd star, as discussions held

Meanwhile, journalist Duncan Castles of the Transfer Window podcast claims that Spurs could look to sign Eric Bailly.

The Man Utd defender, 27, has little chance of becoming a first-team regular at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s replacement is likely to stick with Varane and Harry Maguire.

On Bailly’s future, Castles said: “One of the individuals they [Tottenham] are in discussion about, although as I understand it no offer has been made at this point, is Eric Bailly.

“He’s someone who Conte likes and was looking at as a possible recruit at Inter.

“[Bailly] is obviously one of the players who got the roughest handling from Solskjaer, extremely unhappy with the way he was treated by Solskjaer. He felt that it was ridiculous that Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof were continually selected ahead of him, almost regardless of what they did on the pitch.

“He actually expressed that after the Leicester City defeat.”

READ MORE: Former target back on Tottenham radar as price drop to ease winter swoop

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