Will it be Messi? Will he finally do the right thing and tempt Justin Edinburgh out of retirement? Well Spurs fans, here’s another rumour for you; but this time it’s not about an unlikely coup for a world-class hero, it’s a more realistic move for an up-and-coming French defender called Eliaquim Mangala.
The French Standard Liege defender is rated one the best young players in Belgium, and at only 20 he already has over 80 first team appearances for the 10-time Belgian champions. Despite living in Belgium for 15 years, Mangala, who is of Congolese descent, has opted to play for the country of his birth, France. Since 2009, the 6’1″ centre-back has earned 9 caps for France’s Under-21’s and his encouraging displays have already attracted France manager Laurent Blanc’s attention.
Tottenham have, for large parts of this season, seen an inconsistent selection at centre-back. On paper, Spurs have great option in central defense, with Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate, William Gallas, Michael Dawson, Sebastien Bassong and Younes Kaboul to call on; but in practice, injuries to Woodgate, King, Kaboul and Dawson and Redknapp’s lack of confidence in Bassong have made centre-back something of a problem position for Tottenham.
With Bassong supposedly likely to leave in the summer, King and Woodgate almost always injured and Gallas, who may soon sign a new contract, reaching the twilight of his career, the opportunity to improve competition for places and secure a player for the future by signing a very promising young defender makes sense.
Mangala is highly-rated in Belgium and France and Tottenham would have to fork out around £7million for the centre-back, who can also play at left-back and as a defensive midfielder.
The player himself is believed to be willing to move on to one of Europe’s big leagues, and his agent, Fabrizio Ferrari, says the Frenchman is expecting interest from the Premier League,
“I hope to have some offers from English clubs (in the summer),” Ferrari told tribalfootball.com. I think he is ready to move on and play in another championship – even if Standard is regarded as one of the top clubs in Europe.”
It seems to me that should Harry Redknapp complete this transfer, it could well prove beneficial for Tottenham. The player has already proven himself, at just 20, at a decent level, having impressed in the Champions League against Arsenal a year or so ago, and as an experienced first-teamer for Standard Liege. The only fear is that chances may be hard to come by should Mangala join Spurs’ large posse of centre-backs, but with the seemingly constant injuries they suffer, the Frenchman would probably not have to wait long to make an impression.
For more Spurs rumours, news, thoughts and theories, follow me on Twitter: @StuartCFootball
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