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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham round-up: Madrid want England midfielder; Vertonghen praises Dane; Spurs boss defends Aurier

According to reports coming from Spain over the course of the past day, Real Madrid are set to embark on a quest to try and lure Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli to the club during the next year.

Don Balon claim that Madrid president Florentino Perez is preparing for a new Galactico signing in the January transfer window and he has set his heart on making the England international just that.

It is alleged that the La Liga side are already working hard behind the scenes to try and get the foundations of a deal ready for 2018, with out-of-favour Mateo Kovacic to be offered in exchange.

The Croatian midfielder has struggled to break into the Madrid first-team with any regularity and Zinedine Zidane has only awarded him 64 minutes of La Liga playing time in their first six matches.

In other – and much more reliable – news, Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has claimed that teammate Christian Eriksen is one of the best playmakers in the world after a fine start to the year.

The Danish international has been hitting top form once again, scoring twice, assisting twice and creating 16 chances in six Premier League matches, and he was influential in Saturday’s derby win.

Talking to the Evening Standard, the Belgian praised Eriksen: “He has made unbelievable progress. I have known him for many years and he has always been a great talent but in the last two seasons he has made such big steps forward.

“He scores goals and provides assists and, when he drops deeper, he does very well. In the last two seasons, he has been enormous.”

Tottenham have travelled to Cyprus on Monday night ahead of their Champions League clash with APOEL Nicosia, although they’ll be without the services of Eriksen as he suffers from an illness.

Whilst Vertonghen (suspension) and Eriksen will both be absent from Tuesday’s European fixture, one man expected to feature is summer arrival Serge Aurier.

The £23million summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain has made quite the impact since joining, being dismissed on his full Premier League debut on Saturday in the 3-2 victory at rivals West Ham.

With the Ivorian set to sit out next weekend’s league match against Huddersfield as he serves his suspension, Aurier is expected to feature on Tuesday night after a strong display against Dortmund.

Boss Mauricio Pochettino has defended his actions at the weekend, saying“It’s true that he needs to learn about that situation and improve but when it’s a player that has just arrived at the club and he is given the responsibility to play this type of game, sometimes it happens.

“For me, it’s not a big issue. I am happy with him. I think, to be honest, he is doing very well.”

Victory over APOEL Nicosia could see Tottenham edge closer to the Champions League knock-out stages, knowing a Real Madrid victory over Dortmund would also see them open six points cushion on the Germans.