One that got away? Discarded Spurs youngster set for big Napoli move

The Belgian starlet has been outstanding in his last two seasons of football, having left Tottenham in 2011.

Paul Jose M'Poku was once a highly promising Spurs youth that had joined the North Londoners as a 16-year-old from Standard Liege.

Whoever's decision it was to let the Belgian youngster return to Standard on a permanent deal rather than a temporary one may just be ruing that masterstroke.

M'Poku has been superb in the three years he has been back in Belgium, and last year scored 12 goals in 49 games as Les Rouches secured second spot in the league.

Such form has caused Serie A giants to take an interest in the 22-year-old winger, with his agent Franco Iovino confirming he may be about to join Dries Mertens in Naples.

“Have we been in contact with Napoli? Absolutely, yes,” Iovino told Napolicalciolive.

“There are also other Serie A clubs who asked me about him, but with Napoli there were more extensive talks.

“Around two months ago I met Maurizio Micheli in Rome and he confirmed their interest in M’Poku, but told me to wait for Napoli to place some of their extra players first.

“There is no rush. Last year the lad renewed his contract for another five years, but we included a buy-out clause worth €4m.

“It is nothing excessive, so shouldn’t stand in the way of negotiations.”

The young Belgian enjoyed a strong final season in England on loan at Leyton Orient in 2010-11, as part of the same side that also took Harry Kane on loan.

It was evident then that Tottenham had a real talent on their hands, so it was some surprise that M'Poku, then only 19-years-old, was allowed to head back to Belgium to sign for Standard Liege.

In truth, his move back home has worked out for him, with the attacking midfielder getting regular games under his belt in a top flight European league, and last season managing to feature in Europe for the first time in his career.

He has also continued to impress at Under-21 level, where he is also captain, and it may now only be a matter of time before the former Spurs youngster is given a chance at full international level.

But it still must leave certain Tottenham officials scratching their head with how they let such a talented player slip through their fingers.

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