Football London’s Alasdair Gold has revealed that Djed Spence was identified by Tottenham as a player tailor-made for Antonio Conte’s system and the club would have not signed the 21-year-old under any of the Italian’s predecessors.
Spence made his first appearance in a Tottenham shirt against Rangers at the Ibrox on Saturday, with the right-back showing glimpses of his attacking flair going forward after coming on in the 71st minute.
Conte previously admitted that the former Middlesbrough man’s signing was suggested by the club and that he gave a green light to the deal (The Athletic).
Gold has now revealed that it was Fabio Paratici who drove Tottenham’s pursuit of Spence, having watched the right-back closely during his loan spell at Nottingham Forest last season.
The journalist stated that the England Under-21 international was tailored towards Conte’s requirements at right wing-back as he possesses height, pace, strength, fitness and ability to take players on.
Gold added that some at the club have suggested that Spence would not have been signed under the likes of Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo.
He wrote: ‘While Conte did not identify Spence as an initial target – his knowledge of Championship youngsters is unlikely to be his strong point – Spurs’ managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been watching Spence closely and went to see him in action before making a decision on the player.
‘football.london understands that the club’s sixth signing was one very much tailored towards Conte’s requirements as well as helping Spurs’ homegrown player requirements.
‘There have been suggestions within the club that in previous seasons Spence would not have been signed for Conte’s predecessors, but for the Italian the 21-year-old ticks all of the key skillsets that the current head coach requires in his wing-backs, including his height, pace, strength, fitness and ability to take on players with the ball.’
Spurs Web Opinion
The demands of the wing-backs in Conte’s system are quite unique, which is why both Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon have struggled, despite both players being competent full-backs.
I am confident that Spence can surprise a lot of people next season. Given the number of take-ons he completed in the Championship last season, I expect him to fit Conte’s system like a glove.
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