A reporter has revealed Tottenham were on the verge of signing Napoli and Georgia star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in the summer, though they will now have to watch him shine from afar.
Kvaratskhelia has made a big impression at Napoli since joining the Italian club from Dinamo Batumi in July. He began the Serie A season by finding the net against Hellas Verona, before registering a brace in his next appearance.
The winger, who mainly plays on the left, has since notched league goals against Lazio and Torino to help Napoli go top of the table.
It is in the Champions League where Kvaratskhelia has gained a big new fan base. He tore Liverpool apart in Napoli’s group stage opener as Luciano Spalletti’s team ran out 4-1 winners at home.
Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold couldn’t handle Kvaratskhelia and his top display earned praise from several pundits. Jonathan Woodgate said he was ‘magnificent’ while Thierry Henry called him a ‘contagious’ player to watch.
The 21-year-old was at it again on Tuesday night, registering a goal and an assist as Napoli thrashed Ajax 6-1 in their own backyard.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who managed Napoli between July 2018 and December 2019, has given his verdict on Kvaratskhelia. He said recently: “It’s difficult to predict today what they can do, certainly the newcomers have made the team unpredictable.
“Is Kvaratskhelia a surprise? For those who didn’t know him, we were already following him when I was at Napoli. He is a special player.”
The Georgia international became a target for several English teams during the summer transfer window. That is despite him having only just gone to Napoli.
Tottenham and Leeds were reportedly plotting moves for him. However, their interest didn’t result in a deal before the window shut on September 1.
Tottenham failed to sign Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, says journalist
The Independent’s chief football writer, Miguel Delaney, has now revealed Spurs were ‘very close’ to capturing Kvaratskhelia. Delaney also thinks the wide man is a perfect ‘livewire’ for Napoli boss Spalletti.
“Haaland isn’t the only must-watch element in European football right now,” the reporter wrote (via HITC). “There’s also an electric Napoli team, and especially Khvicha Kvaratshkelia.
“Their form is all the more impressive given it had been anticipated this would be a transitional season for the club, after the loss of so many senior players in the summer.
“It is instead possible that the turnover, and the introduction of young players like Kvaratshkelia, might have actually perfectly suited Luciano Spalletti’s livewire approach.
“It’s of course hard to know whether it is sustainable, and this may represent a real chance for a first title since Diego Maradona and 1990. But that’s almost beside the point right now.
“They are there to be enjoyed. They are must-watch. It’s also not like no one was watching Kvaratshkelia, either. Tottenham Hotspur were very close to him in the summer.”
After failed approaches from Spurs and Leeds this year, he could still end up moving to the Prem in 2023.
According to Georgia U21s coach Lasha Salukvadze, Liverpool and Real Madrid will both make offers to sign Kvaratskhelia. This sets up an exciting transfer battle between two of Europe’s most illustrious sides for him.