Tottenham Hotspur’s defence has been an issue this season, in particular at right-back, with Serge Aurier the only current first-team option.
With the global health crisis likely to deliver a huge financial blow to the football industry, most clubs will likely need to budget when the transfer window opens.
Luckily for Spurs, a report from East London suggests a very decent and affordable option could have emerged for Jose Mourinho’s side to check out.
According to the Daily Mail, West Ham United have failed to tie highly-rated teenage full-back Jeremy Ngakia to a new contract.
The report claims the 19-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season and, as things stand, he is set to leave on a free after snubbing an offer worth £5,000-per-week.
West Ham were reportedly hoping to agree a one-year extension before sorting out a longer, bigger deal further down the line, but Ngakia’s camp are purportedly holding out for £20,000-per-week.
The teenager has impressed in his four appearances for West Ham this season after being promoted to the first team and filling in when Ryan Fredericks was injured.
Ngakia was handed his debut against Liverpool in January and also played the full 90 minutes in West Ham’s three games prior to the shutdown – against the Reds, Southampton and Arsenal.
Pablo Zabaleta, who fell behind Ngakia in the Hammers pecking order, was left impressed by the youngster’s performance in the 3-2 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, keeping Sadio Mane at bay for much of the game.
“You’ve been very good defensively, very solid performance,” the Argentine told the West Ham YouTube channel. “Very tight on Mane. You’ve never let him turn and run through. Then when you had a chance to get forward and support the attack, you did it very well with a few good crosses. You’ve got the speed to get forward.
“Full back is a very demanding position in terms of running up and down. It was a shame we didn’t get anything from the game but you as an individual have to be very proud of your game, what you’ve done. You’ve been superb. How old are you, 19? Keep working hard, listening, be a good professional and good luck in your career. You can go for 15 more years.”
Hailing from Deptford, Ngakia has been described by the Hammers website as an “offensive-minded player blessed with pace, power and excellent technique” whose time with the Under-18s “saw him flit between right-back and the right wing, while he has also excelled in central defence for the Under-23 side on a number of occasions.”
Highly rated at the East London club, versatile, shown he can mix it with the likes of Mane, potentially available for free soon and reportedly asking for a fairly modest £20,000-a-week, he is a player Spurs absolutely should check out sooner rather than later.