Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Pundit urges Tottenham to sign £40m man if he’ll bring ‘nastiness’ back under Conte

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku, Stefan de Vrij and Antoni Conte celebrate a win against AC Milan, February 2020

Tottenham have been urged to sign Inter Milan centre-back Stefan de Vrij if he’ll bring the ‘nastiness’ back to their team.

Having worked under Antonio Conte at Inter, de Vrij, 29, is an obvious transfer target for Spurs. He’ll have just 18 months left on his contract come the January transfer window so is up for grabs.

The Dutch international is valued at £40m, which seems slightly steep considering the remaining time on his contract.

But pundit Noel Whelan believes that sum will be worth every penny if he can help transform the mentality of their backline.

“They need that nastiness back, in my opinion,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“I would have loved to play against this Tottenham side in my day, I really would. They’re far too nice, too weak at the back.

“They have to enjoy defending, not so much the playing out from the back – they are a team who need clean sheets.

“Leave the playing out from the back to the midfielders, like Hojbjerg. They can be the ones who drive into the opposition half and create something. You’ve got to remember where your lines are as a defender.

“They need a bit of steel at the back. If De Vrij can introduce that – then by all means, he is worth the transfer fee.”

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De Vrij is reported to have told his friends that he is interested in working under his former Italian manager Conte again.

And Football Insider claim the defender has said he is aware of the admiration from north London. He wants to hear what they have to say, according to the close source.

Conte will himself be eager for a reunion to help aid his 3-5-2 formation. And Whelan also feels pairing him with Cristian Romero could deliver a partnership similar to the one that Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld enjoyed in their heyday.

Tottenham scout Italy striker

Meanwhile, Tottenham are reportedly one of several clubs to have had a scout in attendance for Italy Under-21s friendly clash with Romania on Tuesday.

Tuttomercatoweb claims that there were ‘no shortage of observers’ in the stands for the game, which the Italians won 4-2. The reports states that officials from Spurs, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan were among the biggest names in attendance.

Italy currently boasts some of the most promising young talents in European football. And one player who is making a name for himself is striker Lorenzo Lucca. He has scored six goals and added two assists in 12 games for Serie B side Pisa this term.

He started the game on the bench and failed to make an appearance. Defender Simone Canestrelli stole the headlines with a hat-trick and an own goal in the comfortable win.

The report from Tuttomercatoweb (as cited by Sport Witness) states that Fabio Paratici is keeping tabs on Italy’s top talent, even at the lower level, with a view to potentially bolstering Antonio Conte’s squad.

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