Steven N’Zonzi’s talent has never been in question. Yet, few expected a player once brought to Blackburn Rovers by Sam Allardyce as a gangly, sharp-limbed youngster would develop into one of the continents most assured central midfielders.
Yet, like Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Carlos Bacca, Ever Banega and co, a spell at Sevilla has helped N’Zonzi realise that frightening potential. No midfielder in Spain’s top flight managed as many passes as the Frenchman last season while his superb, all-action performances at the base of the midfield helped Jorge Sampaoli’s side finish fourth after a prolonged flirtation with the title race.
As such, two years after joining from Stoke City for £7 million, Gazzetta Dello Sport now claim that Sevilla value him at £35 million. Though the report adds that such a fee will not put off Tottenham Hotspur.
Steven N'Zonzi has developed into a genuinely world class midfielder
Juventus were believed to be the frontrunners for N’Zonzi’s signature but Sevilla’s asking price means they have now turned their attention towards a cheaper alternative, Paris Saint-German powerhouse Blaise Matuidi.
Consequently, the report claims that Spurs Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful of a summer move for the 28-year-old, who is still yet to be capped by France at senior level. The fee would eclipse the sum Spurs splashed out irresponsibly on the disastrous Moussa Sissoko last summer.
Five years in the making
With Victor Wanyama, Moussa Dembele, Eric Dier and highly-rated youngster Harry Winks all fighting for a place in Pochettino’s free-flowing midfield, reinforcements are hardly essential. Yet, N’Zonzi, arguably La Liga’s best midfielder last season, is the sort of signing that could help Spurs push on domestically and in Europe.
This is not the first time Spurs have been linked either. Sky Sports reported in 2012 that Tottenham were interested in a 23-year-old N’Zonzi, who was then rated at £7 million by Blackburn.
It’s fair to say he’d be worth a fair bit more these days but, on the basis of his performances at Sevilla, he could be worth every penny.