Mathias Normann might be a central midfielder who prefers his right foot to his left but, standing at just 5ft 10ins and with the ability to bypass a defence with a perfectly weighted pass or a squirming, shimmying run, comparisons with a certain Barcelona number ten are not a million miles wide of the mark.
“He's not that tall. He is 1.77m I think, but he has a very low centre of gravity. You can compare him with Messi when it comes to the low centre of gravity,” Lars Lagerback, who recently handed Normann his debut for Norwegian national team, told VG this month.
“He is fantastic when he has the ball. He is a very good passer and he’s physically strong.”
It’s fair to say a player Brighton and Hove Albion discarded in January of this year has a long way to go before he can truly be mentioned in the same breath as the one and only Lionel Messi. But, after making a name for himself in Russia with FC Rostov, Normann could soon be handed a second chance to shine on English shores.
According to Goal, Tottenham Hotspur are eyeing a potential £20 million January deal for Normann, whose defence splitting qualities could help Mauricio Pochettino plan for life without Christian Eriksen.
Manchester United are interested too with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a big fan of his compatriot, having worked with Normann during a loan spell at Molde.
Spurs fans shouldn’t expect Normann to contribute 50 goals a season or force his way into contention for the Ballon D’Or immediately but, with Pochettino hoping to bridge the gap between a tired old era and an exciting new one, signing the Brighton reject would be a big step in the right direction.
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