It would not be a transfer window if Paulo Dybala did not find his name linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
The 28-year-old announced this month that he will be leaving Juventus after seven years at the Turin club. Spursamong others, have been mooted with signing the striker on a free transfer this summer after a season which has brought 15 goals and six assists for the Argentine.
Tottenham attempted to sign Dybala back in the summer of 2019 but were unable to get a deal over the line for then manager Mauricio Pochettino. With the Argentina international on the market for free this summer it was assumed that Spurs would try once again to finally bring him to north London and reports in Italy have stated that interest.
However, football.london understands that at this point Spurs are not considering entering the race for Dybala. Tottenham’s managing director of football Fabio Paraticic is not believed to be wholly convinced of the striker being the right fit for Antonio Conte’s project.
It is understood that Paratici was one of those at Juventus looking to move the striker on back in 2019 when he was in charge of transfers at the Turin club during the time that Spurs required.
“I was close to leaving. That was in the club’s thinking, I knew. Until the last minute, we were waiting,” Dybala told the Guardian later that season before stating that his coach Maurizio Sarri had not been the one wanting him to leave Juventus.
Tottenham will look to sign a striker for Conte this season, particularly with the prospect of Champions League football added into the schedule if Spurs can take a point at Norwich in Sunday’s final match of the Premier League season. The choice for Paratici and Conte will be whether to bring in a natural number nine as a straight back-up or support for Harry Kane up front, or to bring in a striker who can also play out wide in order to give them more minutes and make up for the potential loss of Steven Bergwijn this summer, with the Dutch attacker wanting regular football ahead of the World Cup.
Conte has previously stated that he wants the striker in his system to be the focal point which lends itself to a more natural number nine. Spurs have long held an interest in Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but acknowledge that the 25-year-old, who would come with a hefty fee, would be unlikely to move to a club where he is not a guaranteed starter.
Gabriel Jesus, who can also play out wide, is another striker who Tottenham admire and is expected to leave Manchester City this summer as his contract reaches its final year. Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal are believed to be the favorites to sign Jesus and also hold a long-standing interest in Calvert-Lewin, although if Tottenham were to secure Champions League football over the Gunners then they become an attractive proposition for players.
football.london understands another striker on Spurs’ radar is 23-year-old Napoli forward Victor Osimhen, who has netted 18 goals in 31 matches for Napoli this season. Tottenham considered the Nigerian back when he was in Ligue 1 in Lille and he would now come with a big fee after impressing in Italy.
A couple of talented 22-year-olds have also been catching Spurs’ eye, as well as most clubs across Europe. Real Sociedad’s Swedish striker Alexander Isak and Uruguay international Darwin Nunez, who has netted 34 goals in 41 matches for Benfica this campaign, are both players of interest, while Bayer Leverkusen’s 26-year-old Czech Republic striker Patrick Schick has also been watched as he has looted 24 goals in 31 matches this season.
Both Conte and Paratici are fans of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez and Spurs attempted to sign the 24-year-old last summer. However, since then the Argentine has signed a new long-term deal and is expected to be extremely difficult to prize away from the Serie A side this year.
Many of Spurs’ striker top choice striker targets have long contracts and come with big fees and that will be the crux of Tottenham’s striker dilemma this summer. If they are to spend big money on a new forward then it has to be for someone who will play a lot of football rather than being a bit-part player in the vein of Spurs’ most recent incoming strikers such as Carlos Vinicius, Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen.
Harry Kane is currently expected to remain at Spurs this summer, particularly if Champions League football is gained and Conte remains following his post-season meeting with Paratici and chairman Daniel Levy. Kane is understood to be excited at what the future might hold under Conte.
Paratici and Conte must juggle the numbers and decide whether their bigger transfer deals are better placed elsewhere in the squad and whether any new striker instead falls in the cheaper, back-up category. On the financial side, the potential Champions League windfall would go a long way towards offsetting some of the transfer payments Tottenham must make this summer before they can even start looking at new incoming players. It will cost the club around £70million to make the loan moves of Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski permanent.
Spurs will need a much bigger squad next season to not only handle a higher level of European football but also the new rule to allow sides to bring on five substitutes during Premier League matches. Conte has repeatedly pointed to his small squad size as this season comes to a close, with the head coach forced into putting up to four academy youngsters on the bench at times with only four or five first teamers out injured.
Conte would want as many new players as possible to have arrived before or during pre-season in order to get them up to speed with his demands. Spurs will look to bring in a number of new faces before the squad travels to South Korea in mid-July for two pre-season matches.
Tottenham are looking for a left-sided centre-back to provide competition with Ben Davies, with Paratici understood to be a big admirer of Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni. The 23-year-old has plenty of experience despite his age and would fit the left-side of Conte’s back three in a similar way to Romero has on the right. Inter are expected to ask for more than £50million for the Italy international, who has two years left on his contract.
Spurs will also look at bringing in another central midfielder this summer, with Harry Winks expected to exit the club in search of regular football and both former Tottenham man Christian Eriksen, available as a free agent this summer, and Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans discussed as potential targets. The club will also explore new wing-backs to add to the competition on either flank with exits expected there while departures in central defense could trigger another centre-back move, with Joe Rodon seeking regular football next season.
there is also the homegrown aspect for Tottenham as they look to maintain their required numbers. Dele Alli departed in January and Winks could follow him. Talented youngsters Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine are both also expected to head out on loan next season to boost their development.
Tottenham are set to bring in England international goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a free transfer this summer and are also expected to make a move for 21-year-old Middlesbrough wing-back Djed Spence if his loan club Nottingham Forest fail to get into the Premier League . Spurs are also one of a host of clubs looking at Spence’s 20-year-old Forest team-mate Brennan Johnson among other young British talents in the Football League.
It is set to be a busy transfer window for Paratici as he looks to build a squad that keeps Conte happy and builds on what the Italian has already achieved at Tottenham.