In a bizarre and entirely unexpected change in policy, Tottenham Hotspur have set out this summer with the intent of addressing the problems in their squad via a series of well-planned additions.
A real left-back has arrived, with Premier League experience no less, along with an extra keeper to ensure a 43-year-old is not one injury away from being first choice.
England U21 centre-back Eric Dier looks a canny addition at £4m and he should help ease Michael Dawson’s long-delayed exit from the club through to its conclusion.
With these issues addressed, Spurs now appear to be in the hunt for bigger game, with big-money moves for Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Villarreal’s Mateo Musacchio reportedly on the cards.
The former is familiar as an excellent Premier League midfielder, but less is known about the 23-year-old Argentine, so what could Spurs expect from Musacchio if he signed?
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly to worried Lilywhites fans, he would be a partner for Jan Vertonghen rather a replacement, with Musacchio a right-sided centre-back.
The Argentine was key to Villarreal’s excellent showing in their first season back in La Liga, helping them finish six with, appropriately, the sixth best defensive record in the league.
Musacchio’s key strength is in reading the play and making interceptions – he made the most of any player in La Liga last season with 108 in 32 appearances.
This is well-suited to Mauricio Pochettino’s high line system, where defenders have to be able to step and cut off passes through to strikers running through on goal, or be left stranded halfway up the pitch.
The 23-year-old is less adept in the air, and isn’t jet-heeled, but has an all-round game to mark him out as among the best young defenders in Europe.
All of which begs the question, should Champions League clubs be eyeing up Musacchio, especially as Barcelona were reportedly interested in him before signing Jeremy Mathieu?
If Spurs put together a deal for between £16m and £21m, the price-tags being bandied around gossip columns at the moment, there could end up being a fair few clubs in the Premier League and elsewhere kicking themselves in a couple of seasons time.
Facing perhaps their toughest challenge in years to barge into the Premier League’s top four, Spurs are 3/1 to claim a Champions League spot, a price that might start to look generous if they land Musacchio and Schneiderlin.
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