The 22-year-old Honduran has been in sensational form in the Belgian Pro League play-offs.
Honduran winger Andy Najar has gone from strength to strength since joining Anderlecht from D.C. United in 2013 and his form in recent weeks suggests that there is still a lot more to come.
With the Belgian Pro League’s play-offs in full swing, the former MLS Rookie of the Year has bagged three goals and two assists in the past four matches to keep his side’s hopes of a fourth straight championship alive and fuel rumours of a potential summer move.
Speculation surrounding Najar’s future is nothing new at this stage, though, having been linked with various major clubs since bursting onto the MLS scene as a teenager back in 2010.
The likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Valencia were named as possible destinations last season [h/t Sky Sports] but the 23-times capped midfielder instead signed a new long-term deal with Anderlecht before heading off to the World Cup in Brazil.
Nevertheless, his further progress since has done little to quell the rumours and the likes of the Daily Star reported in October that Tottenham were still watching the emerging speedster ahead of a potential £4 million winter bid.
A move failed to materialise in the end but, having continued to earn rave reviews in both domestic and Champions League action this term – scoring seven goals in 44 games, there is strong argument to make that Spurs should be renewing their interest this summer.
Najar’s links to Tottenham in fact go back much further, having had a two-week training stint with the club back in December 2011, and he still cites the likes of Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart as having a big influence on his development.
“I learned a lot from him [Bale],” he told DH.be back in September. “He’s super professional. He’s so open and friendly, always talking with all the guys. He gave a lot of great advice.
“I was also impressed by Rafael Van der Vaart. Just watching his fantastic left foot in action helped my progression.
“Those two weeks allowed me to experience European football and helped ease my transition to Anderlecht.”
Still aged just 22, Najar spent most of his first 18 months at Anderlecht at right-back but, having since taken up his preferred role on the flank to great effect, head coach Mauricio Pochettino would be wise to keep him there were he to end up at Spurs
The Argentine is said to be keen to add width to his squad for next season and, while the former D.C. man’s current contract runs until 2018, his signature would not break the bank.
However, if a bid to bring Najar to White Hart Lane is to prove successful then Tottenham might just have to beat north London rivals Arsenal to the punch.
Belgian newspaper HLN reported last month that the Gunners are weighing up a summer approach for the skilful wide man, who himself has labelled them as his “dream club”.
Speaking to La Pensa in March after helping seal Honduras’ place at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a brace in a 3-0 win over French Guiana, he said: “Arsenal. It is my dream. I keep that in mind because since I was little I liked Thierry Henry. While he was playing for Arsenal, I always had this dream of joining them.”
Continuing on the goal he scored in October’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Arsene Wenger’s men, Najar added: “When I scored [at the Emirates], I celebrated with everything and I noted it was at Arsenal – my future team.”
Those comments might be problematic for some Spurs fans but, at the same time, Najar’s agent has stressed in recent weeks that he wants his client to have the chance of regular action if he does move on from Anderlecht in the coming months.
“We have to focus on Andy’s development,” agent Chris Megaloudis told Diario Diez last month. “He has just turned 22 and we have to think about what is more important for the future; not only money but playing 40 to 50 games in a season. Therefore, that is our target for possible clubs at the European level.
“I think he has enough talent to play in England, Italy or Spain,” Megaloudis continued. “Every player always wants to play at the highest level but we cannot say that he is able to play for Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal [at the moment] because we know that these clubs are immense.”
Those remarks in mind, Tottenham would seem to be what Najar and his agent are looking for in a new club and, taking into account Pochettino’s noted penchant for snapping up emerging talent, the Honduran fits the team’s transfer ethos to a tee.
Even at right-back, there’s a strong argument to make that he is a more promising package than fellow MLS homegrown product and now Spurs defender DeAndre Yedlin and, with his pace, skill and positional awareness, there should be little doubt that he can succeed on the Premier League level.
Now it just remains to be seen whether Tottenham’s management will make a concrete approach this summer but, given that he is likely to be a wanted man, they will have to move fast to get him.