Smalling or Mawson: Which defender should Tottenham spend £15m on?

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy with his son and England manager Gareth Southgate in the stands

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with players from Manchester United and Swansea City in recent hours.

Swansea City's Alfie Mawson celebrates after the match

According to a report from the Scottish Sun, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to bring Swansea City's Alfie Mawson to North London this summer for £15million, and on the face of it that would be a superb piece of business.

But as is the case with any transfer window, the rumour mill is awash with contradictions, and the Daily Mail claims Tottenham could instead sign Chris Smalling, with the 27-year-old seemingly surplus to requirements following Manchester United;s capture of Victor Lindelof.

So who is the better option for Tottenham?

In truth both signings would have their advantages, but much depends on the formation Pochettino intends to play next season and the long-term future of Toby Alderweireld.

With Smalling also reported rated at £15million (the Daily Star), it comes down to which one is better suited to Tottenham and who would be the better long-term investment.

With Mawson four years younger than Smalling, the Swansea player is the typical Daniel Levy signing - an up-and-coming prospect ready to step into the first-team fold but with years to improve, increasing his sell-on value in the process.

Smalling's price is only going to decrease in the years ahead. However he is considerably more experienced than Mawson and would bring international and Champions League nous to a team desperate to push on both domestically and in Europe.

Smalling is used to not only competing in European competition but in holding those trophies aloft and Tottenham need as much quality and experience as they can get.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino applauds fans after the match

If Pochettino is planning to play three centre-backs next season, a move for either defender makes sense, but if Alderweireld stays, Spurs play more traditionally and they are looking for back-up, Mawson is the only viable option.

Even then the 23-year-old will not want to wait in the wings for long.

Mawson has the innate ability to outshine Smalling in the years ahead, but for now the latter has the edge.

So what do Tottenham want: a ready-made, top class centre-back or one who could become a Spurs superstar with enough time and patience?

Chelsea's Diego Costa in action with Manchester United's Chris Smalling

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch