This week has seen Tottenham Hotspur’s mercurial midfielder Mousa Dembele linked with a summer exit. According to The Mirror, Spurs are willing to let the Belgian go this summer as contract talks have struggled to progress between the 30-year-old and the club.
It was also reported that Spurs are already monitoring potential replacements, including Atalanta midfielder Bryan Cristante.
The Italian is enjoying a fine loan spell at the club from Portuguese side Benfica and Spurs are one of a number of teams said to be keen on his signature.
The player himself has spoken about the rumours, telling L’Eco Di Bergamo he is still focused on finishing the season strong in Serie A:
“I am not distracted from what I read: it’s nice to talk of me, but I think about the field and reach the goal with Atalanta.
“If something happens in the summer, the club and my attorney will talk about it.”
But Tottenham will certainly be hopeful of getting their hands on the player, based on what he said back in December.
The 23-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at AC Milan, told the print edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, as relayed by Football Italia, that he felt a move to the Premier League would be an excellent match to his style of play:
“So many people tell me: ‘The Premier League is the perfect place for you,’ and I agree with them. It’s physical, there’s a lot of tackling and open football. I can really see myself there.”
Tottenham, it seems, tend to agree.
The most recent reports suggest that his parent club Benfica will want a sizeable fee for his services. As reported in L’Eco Di Bergamo it is believed Cristante will fetch around €30 million (£26.1 million) in the summer transfer market.
Tottenham would surely be willing to pay such a fee for a player they see as a future Dembele replacement.
But whilst Tottenham would like to see Cristante arrive, they would not want it to be to the detriment of losing Dembele.
Hopefully, Tottenham can find a way to keep hold of the Belgian midfield maestro next season. Pairing him up with Cristante in the base of midfield could certainly be a winning combination for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.