Daniel Levy’s shrewd negotiating skills have been one of the core pillars supporting Tottenham’s development in recent years but it’s rapidly beginning to look like he missed a trick in the summer transfer window.
Indeed, rumours had consistently linked Tottenham with a move for Barcelona’s Andre Gomes throughout 2018 when Everton managed to secure a deadline-day deal for his services.
That Everton managed to sign him for the whole season for a reported £2 million now looks like one of the bargains of the season, such is the extent of his impact at Goodison Park thus far.
It was unquestionably a missed opportunity for Spurs, even considering the promising form of Moussa Sissoko in a new-look central role, as Gomes could have offered something completely different in the middle of the park.
At this stage it would be fair to suggest that Tottenham could yet make a bid to sign Gomes on a permanent deal, but murmurs emerging from Merseyside seem to suggest the Portugal international is happy within his new environment.
With that in mind, Levy may have to turn his attention elsewhere in his search for a new midfielder and, with Mousa Dembele looking nailed on to depart north London at the end of the season, he should seriously consider a shock move to re-sign Nabil Bentaleb.
The former Tottenham academy product showcased a huge level of promise whilst he was emerging through the ranks, but he struggled to break into Pochettino’s first team when he came of age and was subsequently sold to Schalke in a deal worth £17.1 million.
In the Bundesliga Bentaleb has blossomed into a fantastic central midfielder, combining his textbook technique and work-rate to impact the game at both ends of the field.
Like Dembele, Bentaleb is a natural left-footer who is incredibly composed in possession and adept when navigating out of tight spaces, but he has a clinical edge which the Belgium international has been lacking throughout his career.
Central midfield players are not tasked with scoring goals on a regular basis but it’s certainly a desirable quality that has peculiarly eluded Dembele.
Bentaleb, however, has proven that he can add the finishing touches to his game by notching 17 goals from 82 appearances in all-competitions at Schalke.
What the 24-year-old is lacking in physical strength compared to Dembele he more than makes up for with his tendency to pop up with goals and assists, and Levy should certainly have him on his shortlist when he delves into the market for a new midfield lynchpin next summer.
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