Keita Balde linked to Tottenham - what would he bring?
Tottenham are planning to press ahead with their transfer plans this week and reports from Italy suggest Balde Keita could be on his way to North London. Corriere dello Sport, referenced by Sky Sports and The Guardian, report that Spurs are prepared to meet Lazio’s €30 million asking price for the forward. He will be out of contract at the end of the season and has been boycotting training sessions to force a move.
The 22-year-old has a preference to move to Juventus, but the Italian champions have only offered €15 million. The player himself has rejected moves to AC Milan, West Ham United and Napoli. There is a belief that he could be tempted by the possibility of playing in the Premier League and agree to move to Tottenham.
What would he bring to Tottenham?
The Lazio player is seen as one of the most exciting talents in Serie A and he would add competition for the attacking positions. Mauricio Pochettino will know that he needs to have a deeper squad if he is to compete on multiple fronts. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min are all great players, but the club lack other reliable attacking options. One or two bad injuries could have a devastating effect on Spurs’ season, which is why a move for Keita appeals.
Last season, he showed impressive form in front of goal as he contributed 16 goals and three assists. Keita can play in a number of positions, but he is at his most effective when on the left wing. He loves to beat defenders and create chances for his team. During the last 12 months, his decision making in the final third has improved, as he is willing to pass the ball to a team-mate if they are in a better position that he is.
His pace and low centre of gravity mean that his dribbling is one of his best attributes. Keita often beats players with ease and can draw free-kicks, as his close ball control makes it difficult for defenders to dispossess him.
There are weaknesses to his game, as his attitude is questionable as shown by his latest antics at Lazio. He has refused to train and that doesn’t give a positive image of a young player. His lack of discipline can be problematic at times, while his lack of defensive contribution can make it feel like his team is playing with ten men. There is a player in there, but he is far from the finished article.
How likely is a move?
The move is gathering momentum as we approach the close of the transfer window. Keita clearly wants to leave Lazio, but he favours a transfer to Juventus. If the Old Lady make a new bid for the player, they would be regarded as the favourites to sign him. However, Tottenham have a good chance if they don’t. They can offer him Champions League football and the chance to learn under an excellent coach in Mauricio Pochettino.