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Tottenham: Arsenal compete for French forward; three departures imminent

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The back pages are fairly quiet for reports of new arrivals at White Hart Lane yet again, following Tottenham Hotspur‘s 2-1 friendly defeat to Juventus yesterday.

A youthful-looking Spurs side conceded twice in 15 minutes as the Italian champions raced to a 2-0 lead, before a second-half strike from Erik Lamela pulled one back for the North Londoners. Mauricio Pochettino‘s men are currently on a pre-season tour of Australia and the Argentine does not appear to be in any rush to add to the signings of Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen just yet.

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However, if reports are to be believed, then Arsenal have now joined the race for long-time Spurs target Wissam Ben Yedder.

The forward, who scored 17 goals in 35 games for Toulouse in Ligue 1 last season, has been linked with a move to White Hart Lane as far back as January, but Spurs were not thought to be in the market for another striker following the arrival of Janssen earlier this month.

An over-reliance on Harry Kane may have cost Spurs the league title last season, and supporters were adamant that despite their admiration for the academy graduate, striking reinforcements were needed this summer in order to help shoulder the burden of goals. Those needs appeared to have been met when Janssen signed from AZ Alkmaar, so if the reports that Pochettino is chasing another forward are true, then it is surely a misallocation of resources at this particular moment in time.

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Meanwhile, Spurs seem to be in no rush to push players out of the exit door either. After the club announced earlier this week that Alex Pritchard, Nabil Bentaleb and Federico Fazio were free to leave the club, the Independent are reporting that Daniel Levy has now held up any potential exits by demanding hefty fees for both Bentaleb and Pritchard.

The trio have all been left out of Spurs tour of Australia, and the fact that Pochettino has even come out and stated that they are surplus to requirements must have alerted potential suitors to the possibility of a cut-price deal for whichever player they are interested in.

However, the club are now claiming that it will take £10 million for them to allow Bentaleb to move on and £9 million for Pritchard.

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Such valuations are likely to put off interested parties, and as a result, Levy may well be pricing himself out of selling the trio. Not a man for cutting his losses, the Spurs owner has become renowned for getting the best deal possible when selling a player, but the fact that his manager has come out and admitted that the players are definitely not a part of his plans may count against him this time.

Bentaleb has been linked with a loan-deal to Benfica, which the report claims Spurs are not averse to, as it may lead to an increased market price for the player down the line.

With regard to Pritchard, they are hoping for a permanent sale, but the valuation of £9 million seems excessive for a player that has done nothing above Championship level. Newcastle United, Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers are rumoured to be interested in the 23-year-old, who has excelled in spells at Brentford and Swindon Town, but all are unlikely to be willing to stump up such a fee for the player.

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Tottenham Hotspur

After Champions League heartbreak, Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should make Tottenham switch

The Serbian could prove the perfect long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele.

Max Cohen

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
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Lazio’s dream of qualifying for next season’s Champions League was ended in the cruelest of circumstances on Sunday, after two late goals from Inter Milan pushed the capital club into fifth position.

For standout central midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the lack of top-level European football must have come as a blow, and the 23-year-old should move to Tottenham Hotspur to seek the high-quality competition he deserves.

The Serbian international could prove to be the ideal long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele in north London, as he shares the Belgian’s combination of physical strength and deft skills.

Milinkovic-Savic enjoyed a superb campaign for the Italian club, playing 47 times and chipping in with 14 goals and nine assists.

These are laudable attacking numbers for a midfielder who operates in the engine room of the pitch, and his attacking contributions led Lazio to within inches of their first Champions League berth in over a decade.

The Serbian international is also a key defensive presence on the pitch. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches, the midfielder is a strong header of the ball and has the strength to outmuscle opposition attackers with ease.

(Photo by Marco Bertorello/Getty Images)

According to the Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are targeting Milinkovic-Savic and the player is set to make a decision on his future over the weekend.

Although he has been linked with the Manchester club, Milinkovic-Savic would do well to move to north London and play under Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs are in vital need of central midfield reinforcements this summer, as the futures of Moussa Sissoko, Victor Wanyama, and Dembele are all unclear.

Dembele has been an excellent performer for Spurs under Pochettino, and should undoubtedly be offered a new deal this offseason.

However, the Belgian turns 31 this summer and Tottenham must seek a quality, long-term replacement for the midfielder.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would be a fantastic addition to the Spurs squad and an ideal successor to Dembele in the centre of the park; the prospect of Champions League football should lure him to White Hart Lane this season.

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£65k-a-week wages make Anthony Martial perfect Tottenham Hotspur signing

The Frenchman is a transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Tottenham Hotspur are once again looking to bring in a suitable back-up option to their star striker Harry Kane this summer. Their previous two attempts, Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente have failed to live up to the bill and both are set to leave the club this summer. Now the plan has changed and they are said to be after a more versatile forward, rather than an out-and-out striker. The player they have seemingly identified is Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.

The London Evening Standard is reporting that Spurs are keen on signing the Frenchman from their Premier League rivals this summer. He has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho and subsequently missed out on a place in France’s World Cup squad for this summer.

Tottenham feel they can offer Martial a chance for more regular football, either as a left-winger or a striker. The attacker, who cost Manchester United an initial fee reported to be in the region of £38.5 million by Sky Sports, will not be cheap.

However, the Evening Standard report does highlight one factor which will leave Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy very happy with any potential deal. They claim that Martial is currently on £65,000-a-week at Old Trafford.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Tottenham have gained a reputation in recent years for trying to be frugal with their money, especially when it comes to their wage bill. It has seen their talented first-team squad often linked with moves away for more fruitful pay-packets.

Martial’s wages fall neatly into the club’s current wage structure. At £65,000-a-week there will be little stopping Tottenham from bringing Martial to North London this summer. If they can agree on a fee with United, where it seems Martial’s time is up, Tottenham might finally have found their solution to the striker back-up issue at the club.

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Tottenham have already identified Eric Dier’s £25 million replacement in Wilmar Barrios

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Losing first team regulars may not be a complete surprise to Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino, and that may why be reports are indicating that the coach has already lined up an alternative to Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama should either move on this summer.

The Sun say that there is still interest in Dier, who will be at the World Cup with England, whilst Wanyama’s struggles with injury may mean that Pochettino looks elsewhere for the role of midfield enforcer.

They believe the target to be Boca Juniors’ 24-year-old holding midfielder Wilmar Barrios, a Colombian international who plays alongside Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez at international level.

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The youngster has become a key man in the Boca Juniors side but, perhaps unusually, has not caught the attention of many in Europe. Barrios has, though, developed a reputation as one of the best players in South America, particularly in his position, as he has become a linchpin protecting his back four.

That is protected in his very impressive stats, which show that he makes on average three tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per match, compared to the 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions for Dier playing in a very similar role.

Barrios’ intelligent reading of the game has drawn comparisons to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, with both men guilt of diving into tackles on occasion despite all of their many strengths.

He may be raw, with no experience of playing in Europe, but at £25 million he could prove to be a bargain and Mauricio Pochettino’s return home to go on a shopping spree could provide a long-term solution to the holding midfield role which seems as uncertain as ever after the 2017/18 season.

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