Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham gunning for Chelsea cast-off as Sky Sports reporter hints mighty Barcelona raid could follow

Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo being tackled by Ecuador centre-half Piero Hincapie

Tottenham are mulling a move for a central defender Chelsea recently overlooked, while a Sky Sports reporter has added weight to the claims a Barcelona forward could move to north London.

Spurs’ worrying trend of conceding first has bled into 2023. Tottenham have now shipped the first goal in 10 successive matches and the pressure of falling behind has begun to tell.

Indeed, Antonio Conte’s side only have one point to show from a possible six since domestic football returned. The end result is Tottenham dropping out of the top four in a flash.

Calls are growing for Spurs to wield the axe on veteran goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The Frenchman, 36, is on the decline and a stopper from within the Premier League continues to be touted as his long-term successor.

However, goalkeeper is by no means the only position Tottenham are seeking to address.

Left centre-back is another, with Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol two elite options who regularly draw links.

Gvardiol especially will cost a colossal sum, but even Bastoni is likely to command in excess of £50m if signed.

A more economical option could come in the form of a player recently linked to Chelsea, though the Blues opted against signing him when moving for Benoit Badiashile instead.

Tottenham sizing up Chelsea cast-off

Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie is the man in question, with the 20-year-old now no longer required at Stamford Bridge.

Sky previously claimed he was the Blues’ ‘plan B’ to Gvardiol. Given they’ve moved for Badiashile, it turns out he was more of a plan C.

The Ecuador international played every minute in Ecuador’s World Cup campaign and as a left-footed centre-back, is a valuable commodity in the modern game.

Hincapie is a regular for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and shouldn’t cost as much as Bastoni or especially Gvardiol. However, Leverkusen are in a strong bargaining position given Hincapie is under contract until 2026.

“Tottenham are looking at the player that Chelsea also looked at before they pursued Benoit Badiashile, and that is the Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie,” reporter Dharmesh Sheth told Sky Sports on Tuesday evening.

“He’s an Ecuador international, 20-years-old. Played in all of Ecuador’s group games during the World Cup. Napoli are also keen.”

Conte’s current options on the left of his back three are Clement Lenglet and Ben Davies. Neither are ideal given Lenglet is only on loan from Barcelona and Davies has spent the bulk of his career playing at full-back.

Barcelona raid now makes sense

Sheth had a quick update on what other areas Tottenham are seeking to address, stating: “The priority positions at Tottenham are also a forward and a wing-back.”

The right side of Conte’s defence looks in desperate need of an upgrade with Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal both struggling to impact games at the highest level. Summer recruit Djed Spence, meanwhile, has barely got a look-in.

Tottenham were heavily linked with Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Porro, but the Portuguese club’s insistence on holding out for Porro’s approximately £40m release clause has caused Spurs to balk.

A move for Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan could instead be on the cards. Two reports out of Italy touted a move for the Dutch international on Monday. Emerson may yet be used as bait to lure Dumfries to north London.

Regarding the forward ranks, today’s Euro Paper Talk brought news of Tottenham’s interest in Ferran Torres.

The ex-Man City attacker only moved to Barcelona one year ago, though it’s now claimed he could be on the move once more.

The ultra-versatile Torres has fallen down the pecking order since the summer arrivals of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

Barca are understood to be willing to cash in if bids of around £35m are tabled. Little had been reported in the way of Tottenham interest in adding to their firepower, but Sheth has bucked that trend and the Torres links now make more sense.

EURO PAPER TALK: Conte backed with hard cash with Japan star to sign and Spurs to land Barcelona pair next; Man Utd push boat out for Sevilla man