Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is reportedly growing increasingly concerned that Tottenham could snatch wing-back Yannick Carrasco before the transfer window shuts at 11pm on Thursday.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that Spurs had opened dialogue with Atletico over a potential deal for the Belgium international, who could be the icing on the cake of an impressive summer transfer window for the north London club.
Atletico are currently under pressure to sell in order to comply with the salary cap imposed by LaLiga.
That has led to Carrasco potentially being offloaded to Tottenham for a fee lower than his current £51.2million release clause.
But now Marca has added to all the speculation with a telling update on the transfer.
The Spanish publication states that Spurs have not yet made an offer for the player, or opened even talks. However, Atletico are refusing to rule out a late sale due to their financial situation.
The report adds that Tottenham may have to actually meet Carrasco’s exit clause to seal a transfer.
And that is where Simeone’s concern stems from, given that Spurs have the financial power to actually offer that figure.
Carrasco has scored 13 goals in 82 appearances in his second spell for Atletico since ending a short stay in China.
He also fits perfectly into Conte’s preferred 3-4-3 formation and would be a step up on Emerson Royal.
The Brazilian has been Conte’s surprise first-choice at right wing-back in the opening games of the season. Royal has beaten out Matt Doherty and summer signing Djed Spence for a place in the side.
Carrasco quality outshines other Tottenham options
However, Carrasco has proven Champions League and international experience. Indeed, the former winger has already racked up 57 caps for Belgium.
Bringing in Carrasco could mean an exit for one of Doherty or Royal. It’s unlikely, despite rumours to the contrary, that Conte would offload Spence despite his reluctance to sign the player in the first place.
The former Middlesbrough man counts as a homegrown player and needs to remain in the squad.
All eyes will now be on the clock to see whether Spurs do actually make any moves before the deadline.
Leeds star Dan James also remains on their radar, but they will have no effect on the Carrasco deal – seeing as how Tottenham would prefer a loan for the Elland Road man.
James is also an option further forward and is not being viewed as a potential wing-back by Conte.