Tottenham lagging in race for Serie A man, as Prem rivals move into top spot for transfer

Ruslan Malinovskyi and Nicolo Barella

Tottenham have fallen behind two Premier League rivals in the pursuit of Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi, and one English club is now reportedly the firm favourite to sign him.

Malinovskyi was tipped to join Tottenham throughout August. He apparently ‘said yes’ to linking up with them and was ‘dreaming’ about such a transfer.

However, the attacking midfielder’s switch didn’t go through before the September 1 deadline. As such, he will remain with Atalanta for the next few months.

Malinovskyi could still get his exit wish in the January transfer window, though. Fabrizio Romano says his situation is ‘open’ – Atalanta are willing to sell as he is unlikely to extend his contract, which expires in June.

The Serie A club would rather get some money for him this winter than let him leave for free at the end of the season.

Tottenham are keeping an eye on developments and could swoop for Malinovskyi once the transfer window reopens.

However, interest is also coming from other teams and Spurs are no longer the prime suitors for the Ukrainian.

According to Italian journalist Paolo Bargiggia, Spurs have been overtaken by West Ham and Nottingham Forest in the pursuit of Malinovskyi.

Spurs fall behind in Ruslan Malinovskyi race

Despite Forest only recently returning to the Premier League, and them having no European football to offer, they are now winning the race for the star.

During a recent interview, Bargiggia said (via Area Napoli): “Malinovskyi, in all likelihood, will leave Atalanta. His future could be in England.

“At 60 per cent he will land at Nottingham Forest, at 30 per cent at West Ham, another club interested in the footballer. At 10 per cent instead the other possible destinations.”

It seems Forest are the best-placed club right now to complete a deal for the Atalanta man, who registered 10 goals and seven assists in all competitions last season.

It is obviously good news for Spurs that Malinovskyi is highly likely to secure a transfer away from Atalanta in January. However, director of football Fabio Paratici needs to get to work if Spurs are to land him ahead of West Ham and Forest.

Bargiggia doesn’t mention how much the 29-year-old will cost. As his contract is due to expire, Spurs shouldn’t have to part with an astronomical fee to agree a deal.

Atalanta were reportedly asking for between £25.3m and £29.5m in the summer. But as Malinovskyi gets closer to becoming a free agent, this price will surely drop.

Spurs chiefs eyeing familiar hunting ground

Paratici and Conte have regularly gone to Italy for new signings while at Spurs. Just look at the moves for Dejan Kulusevski, Rodrigo Bentancur and Cristian Romero.

This strategy has worked, as Spurs are on the up and back in the Champions League. Malinovskyi could be a good signing for them, although he may not actually get much game time in north London.

It’s hard to see how he would start in attack ahead of Harry Kane, Kulusevski, Son Heung-min or Richarlison.

And then in midfield, where Malinovskyi can also operate, there are Bentancur, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Yves Bissouma in his way.

Meanwhile, Tottenham scouts have gone to Belgium and are tracking a Club Brugge player, according to reports.