Tottenham move for realistic January target back on, though missing ingredient might concern Conte

Scotland midfielder John McGinn and Ukraine international Ruslan Malinovskyi

Talk a smart Tottenham signing in January has collapsed is overblown and a move remains makeable, though a report has revealed one thing that may concern Antonio Conte.

A common criticism levied at Conte is his midfield lacks creativity. The likes of Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg do shield the defence and disrupt the opposition, though do little to aid the explosive forward players further up field.

A perfect addition to the mix would be someone like Leicester’s James Maddison. However, the England international is unlikely to be available until at least the end of the season and won’t come cheap.

A more immediate impact could therefore come from Ukraine and Atalanta star, Ruslan Malinovskyi.

The 29-year-old has been on Spurs’ radar since the summer and is in the final year of his contract in Bergamo.

Malinovski is more attack-minded than those in Conte’s engine room and would represent an ideal link between the midfield and attack.

Indeed, he’s only provided four goal contributions so far this season, though returned 17 in 41 matches for Atalanta last term. Malinovskyi was also Serie A’s top assister with 12 in the 2020-21 campaign the year before.

A January swoop for a fee in the region of £15m has been touted. With the player’s contract expiring next summer anyway, Atalanta should be open to cashing in while they still can.

However, a remarkable report out of Italy earlier this week claimed the move had collapsed. The reasoning in the piece stemmed from the controversy that is currently enveloping Juventus amid an investigation into their dubious transfer dealings.

Moves made by Spurs chief Fabio Paratici while working in Turin are coming under the microscope. That led to a claim a move for Malinovskyi was now ‘inappropriate’ and the player was ‘further away’ from north London than ever before.

Italian media reckon Tottenham move is on

But according to local reporting in Bergamo, Juve’s situation will not effect Atalanta’s dealings next month, including for Malinovskyi.

Corriere Bergamo report a Malinovskyi sale can still occur and Atalanta are expected to seek between €15m-€18m if parting ways.

Tottenham are namechecked as being in the mix, though somewhat worryingly, are the only team mentioned.

While that might sound a positive on paper, the fact Tottenham are the only club eyeing the 29-year-old could be a concern.

The obvious question is what do Tottenham see in Malinovskyi others do not, or perhaps more pertinently, what is turning other potential suitors away?

Regardless, a move does seem there for the making if Spurs act on their interest. With a modest fee required and no competition for the signature, a Malinovskyi deal could quickly cross the line.

READ MORE: Tottenham muscle back into contention for £25m midfield enforcer whom Conte would love to beat Liverpool to