Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham eyeing 21-game PL centre-back; rising club have ‘no interest’ in sale, but value ‘realistic’

Illia Zabarnyi, Bournemouth

Bournemouth defender Illia Zabarnyi alongside the Tottenham badge

Tottenham reportedly have Bournemouth centre-back Illia Zabarnyi on their radar for January, but the Cherries have ‘no interest’ in selling.

Spurs have slipped from the summit of the Premier League to fifth place in the space of five games. They have the opportunity to go level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City, but the way things are going, that looks unlikely.

Indeed, injuries have massively hampered their progress, after they began the season flying high under Ange Postecoglou.

The injury list includes big names such as James Maddison, Ivan Perisic and Rodrigo Bentancur. But one absence Spurs have felt the most is that of Micky van de Ven, with Eric Dier’s knock not helping matters.

The former was one of their best players until his injury, and that coincided with a suspension to Cristian Romero.

While the Argentine is back after his suspension, Dier going down means the centre-back pairing has changed more than Postecoglou would have liked, and the quality of Ben Davies at centre-back – who’s had to fill in – has previously been questioned.

As such, it looks likely that the boss is going to prioritise the signing of a central defender in the summer.

A recent report suggested Everton will accept an offer from Tottenham for Ben Godfrey if they lodge one, and it’s not unlikely that that will happen.

Spurs fix gaze on Zabarnyi

However, Postecoglou has his eyes on Bournemouth defender Zabarnyi, too.

That’s according to the Mirror, who state they are continuing to track the Cherries defender after they were keen on him in 2022, when he moved to the Vitality Stadium.

It’s said Zabarnyi’s name ‘remains prevalent throughout data algorithms’ used by Spurs’ recruitment staff.

The Ukrainian is said to impress through his number of passes, blocks and clearances.

Cherries don’t want to sell, but may have to

It’s also said Fabio Paratici, who is still working for Tottenham on a consultancy basis, is a ‘huge admirer’ of Zabarnyi.

However, so are Bournemouth, and they therefore have ‘no interest’ in selling, particularly so soon after signing the defender – he’s played just 21 times in the league since he joined, having not missed a minute in the league this season.

He put in a good performance helping his side stop Manchester United from scoring in the Cherries’ historic 3-0 victory over Erik ten Hag’s side – their first-ever victory at Old Trafford.

But while Bournemouth aren’t looking to sell, it’s reported Zabarnyi is a target with ‘promising potential’ at ‘realistic value’ for Tottenham.

The centre-back was signed for about £20million in January, so if Spurs lodge a bid worth more than that, Bournemouth might find it hard to turn it down.

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