Tottenham are in the driving seat to capture Atalanta attacker Ruslan Malinovskyi amid claims he has ‘said yes’ to joining them in a summer deal.
He is a Ukrainian attacking midfielder who came through the Shakhtar Donetsk academy. However, he left the club before making his senior debut for them.
Malinovskyi spent 18 months on loan with Genk before they paid £1.8million to sign him permanently in summer 2017.
In total, the player registered 30 goals and 32 assists for Genk, helping them to lift Jupiler Pro League title in 2018-19.
The Belgian club made a profit on Malinovskyi by selling him to Atalanta in July 2019, which also gave the player his big break. According to transfermarkt, the switch from Belgium to Italy was worth £12.2m.
Malinovskyi has impressed during his three years in Italy. In each of the last two seasons, he has reached 10 goals in all competitions. He contributed to 17 goals last term as Atalanta finished eighth in Serie A and reached the quarter-final of the Europa League.
The 49-cap international could end his spell with Atalanta this summer. Reports have put Premier League returnees Nottingham Forest on his trail.
They have already brought in plenty of players during the current transfer window, several of them being midfielders. Nevertheless, Forest scouts like the look of Malinovskyi.
Tottenham to usurp Forest in Ruslan Malinovskyi chase
They have brushed Forest aside and are the best-placed club to land Malinovskyi.
Plus, the 29-year-old has supposedly ‘said yes’ to joining Antonio Conte’s side. While Forest are an attractive option, Spurs are simply too big and too rich not to be his favoured club. And they can give him the chance to continue playing in the Champions League too.
Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici now needs to sort out a deal with Atalanta. This could take some time though as the two sides are in disagreement over a key part of the move.
Spurs hope to bring Malinovskyi to the Prem on loan for a season and with the option to buy next summer. This would give them the chance to see how he fares in England before spending big on him.
The north London outfit did similar when arranging deals for Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini.
In contrast, Atalanta want to receive a fee for their player immediately. They value him at £18m.
Forest have already put a bid worth £12m on the table this window, though this was soon rejected.
Perhaps Spurs and Atalanta can meet in the middle by agreeing a season-long loan with an option to buy set at £18m.
While Malinovskyi arriving would bolster Conte’s options going forward, there is a concern over whether they actually need him.
After all, the Italian manager can play three of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Lucas Moura in forward areas.
So if all these players stay, then Malinovskyi probably won’t feature very often. He might have to wait for a player such as Moura to go before signing.