Tottenham’s prospects of landing one of Antonio Conte’s top targets on the cheap in January are seemingly fading with the player edging towards a big transfer decision.
Conte has led Tottenham into the last 16 of the Champions League and will find out on Monday their opponents in the next round. And the North London club will have aspirations of going deep into the competition, having reached the final in 2019.
To do so, though, the Italian knows he will need more strength in depth in his squad. To that end, reports indicate that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is preparing to hand Conte a sizeable kitty in the winter window. And Euro Paper Talk earlier this week claimed three deals were already in the works, with the transfers of two midfielders gathering pace.
Conte, though, remains fixed also on strengthening his defensive options. Eric Dier and Cristian Romero – when fit – are fixtures in the side, while the left-sided slot has been shared between Ben Davies and loanee Clement Lenglet.
Lenglet’s deal at the club gives Tottenham the option to make it permanent in the summer. Effectively, the Frenchman is on trial at Tottenham as Conte considers his next course of action.
Further down the line, though, Conte has, on more than one occasion, taken a look at his former Inter Milan lieutenant Stefan de Vrij.
The Dutchman is a regular in the heart of the Inter defence, having played a big role in their title success in 2021 under Conte’s management.
But with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, the 30-year-old has been strongly linked with a move to Spurs.
Tottenham learn Stefan de Vrij fate
Indeed, just last week a report claimed Conte was upping the stakes in a bid to lure the former Lazio man to the Premier League. And with finances tight at the San Siro, talk of a cut-price £10m January switch were beginning to gather pace.
However, as per Thursday’s print edition of Tuttosport, De Vrij is near to making a firm decision on his future. And he seems likely to disappoint both Conte and his other suitors by closing in on a new contract at the San Siro.
They claim that the 30-year-old’s priority has always been to stay at Inter, but it is only after a change of agents to Federico Pastorello that a deal now looks imminent.
His new agent appears to have negotiated fresh terms for his client that are agreeable to the defender. And De Vrij is closing in on a new deal that will keep him with the Nerazzrurri until 2025.
That two and a half year extension will ensure De Vrij remains at the San Siro until the age of 33. It will also effectively end Conte’s dreams of reuniting with the player in north London.
De Vrij has been with Inter since a 2018 move from Lazio and has made 179 appearances for the club.
He’s also won 59 caps for the Netherlands and will likely be part of Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad in Qatar.