Tottenham Hotspur could make their best signing since Heung-min Son this transfer window…
What’s the word?
The Premier League side retain an interest in Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar and may look to try and complete a deal for him for the second time, according to The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare.
In a recent column, the reliable reporter claimed that the 43-cap Slovakia international is seen as an alternative option to mooted top target Jules Kounde, nearly a year on from their first attempts to sign him.
Spurs’ technical and performance director Steve Hitchen flew out to Milan for talks last summer but the two clubs were far apart in their respective valuations of the player.
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Considering all of the Lilywhites’ defensive troubles last season, the decision to not stump up the cash for Skriniar has looked rather stupid but they could well atone for that error this time around, in what would surely be a massive coup.
If he’s an instant hit in North London, then he could well become Spurs’ best signing since Heung-min Son – a versatile attacker, who has racked up over 280 appearances and 160 goal contributions since his £22m move in 2015, as per Transfermarkt.
Nuno Santo has inherited a squad that recorded the worst defensive record of any of the traditional ‘big six’ in 2020/21 and missed out on either the Champions or Europa League for the first time in over a decade.
This has largely boiled down to the combination of individual mistakes in the backline, in which Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez were lambasted as one of the worst partnerships in the Premier League by ex-midfielder Jamie O’Hara, and a real lack of cohesion as the leader-like presence of Jan Vertonghen was never replaced.
The 26-year-old will soon be entering the peak years of his career and on the back of his Serie A triumph with Inter, there cannot be a better time to secure him.
Indeed, Skriniar played an integral role in Antonio Conte’s side recording the best defensive record in the division on their way to the league title.
As per WhoScored, he featured in 32 matches, rating as the Inter’s sixth-best player (6.9) behind many of their goal and assist providers. Furthermore, he averaged 2.7 clearances, 1.5 tackles and an impressive 92.2% passing success rate.
By comparison, this was more tackles than every one of Spurs’ central defensive options bar Sanchez, whilst he was better with the ball at his feet than every single player, including Pierre-Emile Hojberg (88.5%).
But not only is Skriniar an intelligent and powerful presence, but he’d also be able to fill that leadership void at the back, having been dubbed a “leader on and off the pitch” by his former youth coach Tibor Goljan to ESPN.
Skriniar could become as important to Nuno as Son, which is why he has to be considered an outstanding coup if they can pull it off.