Tottenham Hotspur are now considering a move for AS Roma defender Chris Smalling.
The Lowdown: Tottenham’s defensive issues
Tottenham have made a fairly promising start to the season, currently fourth in the Premier League table, and through to the last 16 of the Champions League, but one glaring issue has been the defence.
Antonio Conte’s side have a record at the back akin to a side in the bottom half, with 21 goals conceded, and this twice came close to costing them before the break for the World Cup, just about managing a 3-2 away win at Bournemouth and a 4-3 victory at home to Leeds United.
Although they have largely managed to get away with a poor record at the back so far, the manager has now identified the need for a new centre-back.
The Latest: Conte obsessed with Smalling
As per CalcioMercato, Conte ‘doesn’t stop thinking about’ signing former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling as an alternative to Stefan de Vrij.
This deal would likely have to be on a pre-contract agreement for next season, as the defender’s deal currently set to expire in 2023, with the Italian identifying him as one of his first choices due to his good form in the Serie A.
The Verdict: Get it done?
Given that the £83k-per-week earner is now 33, he would not be a long-term mainstay in the Spurs defence, but he could be a worthwhile signing on a free transfer, providing some depth for Conte, which would be helpful when trying to compete in four competitions.
The enforcer has been lauded as ‘outstanding‘ for his form in Rome by journalist Josh Bunting, and he has proven to be absolutely vital in Jose Mourinho’s side this season, featuring in all 15 of their Serie A games up to this point, also displaying his threat in the box by contributing three goals.
In truth, Tottenham could do with another younger centre-back to compete for a place in the starting lineup, with the likes of Josko Gvardiol being linked, but Smalling would be a solid rotation option for Conte to have.
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