Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs have reportedly identified Bournemouth’s Premier League stopper Nathan Ake as a top target.
Tottenham Hotspur fans won’t need us to remind them that Daniel Levy prefers to keep his chequebook in his pocket.
While the tabloid caricature of Levy as football’s bespectacled answer to a cackling Mr Krabs is perhaps a little unfair, Spurs’ chairman isn’t exactly known for spending big to bring established top class players to North London.
The club-record signing of Tanguy Ndombele last summer was something of an anomaly after all and, between January 2018 and the summer of 2019, the Champions League runners-up didn’t bring in a single new face.
Now, Spurs will have to count the cost of their space age new stadium with supporters fearing an age of austerity at a club who are already stuck in transition with the futures of Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld more uncertain than ever.
With this in mind, links with Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, via The Sun (17 November, page 67) have certainly come out of the blue. Combative yet classy, Ake is one of the Premier League’s best young defenders and looks a perfect fit to step into Vertonghen’s shoes should he leave next summer on a free.
But the Dutch international won’t come cheap. Back in August, The Sun (7th, page 50) reported that Bournemouth were demanding £75 million – a fee no doubt inflated by Harry Maguire’s world record move to Manchester United.
£75 million is a staggering fee, some £20 million more than Tottenham paid for Ndombele when they made the former Lyon midfielder their most expensive signing ever. Davinson Sanchez, the costliest defender in Spurs’ history, cost £42.5 million – mere pocket change compared to the fee Eddie Howe’s side will demand for the one-time Chelsea youngster.
So this feels like a real test of Levy’s ambition – not to mention the depth of his pockets.
Will he pay up and make a real statement signing to kickstart Spurs’ new era? Or ask the tired and increasingly tetchy Mauricio Pochettino to work yet another miracle?