Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed plenty of success in their organic effort to bring young players through the academy system and into the senior squad, but a recent report from Mundo Deportivo suggests they are hoping to sign a young talent emerging from another of Europe’s most prestigious academy systems.
Indeed, the Spanish media outlet have reported that Tottenham have made a bid worth 50 million euros (£45 million) for Frenkie De Jong, but Ajax have rejected that offer along with a more modest bid from Barcelona. Considering De Jong is one of the brightest sparks in European football, it’s absolutely no surprise to learn of Tottenham’s interest.
The 21-year-old central midfielder has established quite the reputation throughout his development for his ball-playing prowess and confidence to use his forward-thinking vision with risky yet incisive passes. With a feeling of growing inevitability regarding Mousa Dembele’s departure from the club, it seems De Jong could well be the long-term replacement Mauricio Pochettino is looking for.
Barcelona’s interest in De Jong will make life difficult for Spurs but with a whole host of talented central midfield players already residing within Ernesto Valverde’s squad, the promise of first-team football may just swing De Jong’s decision in their favour, albeit, at the short-term expense of Harry Winks.
The 22-year-old midfielder has been mightily impressive throughout his development at Spurs, but he hit a wall in his progress last season with an ankle injury and a subsequent struggle to break into the first-team which restricted him to just 9 starts in the Premier League.
But there’s no doubt Winks is capable of becoming a first-team regular for a top Premier League side in the future, providing he is exposed to regular opportunities in the coming years.
Winks is in the midst of a crucial phase in his development in which regular first-team football will enable him to realise the true extent of his potential, but De Jong’s arrival could prevent him from starting on a regular basis at Tottenham.
With that in mind, Newcastle United would be wise to capitalise on the situation by submitting a loan bid for his services to add a box-to-box midfielder of genuine quality to their midfield.
Jonjo Shelvey, Mo Diame and Ki Sung-yeung currently provide the creative juices and defensive steel in midfield, but not one of the aforementioned players can match Winks in terms of overall quality.
Although a permanent deal would be in Newcastle’s best interests, Mike Ashley’s transfer history and Tottenham’s long-term plan for Winks are likely to prevent that from happening, so they would need to open negotiations with a realistic loan bid.
De Jong’s superior record in his career so far should be taken with a pinch of salt considering he has been playing his trade in the Eredivisie, but the statistics could ultimately count against Winks and force him to embark on a season-long loan to prove himself away from Tottenham before vying for a regular starting berth under Pochettino.
If that eventually proves to be the case, Rafa Benitez should be on hand to bring a game-changing player to St James’ Park.
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