Opinion: Kondogbia the final piece to complete Spurs’ midfield?

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It is no secret Jose Mourinho is crying out for a defensive midfielder to slot alongside a fit Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso.

Mourinho, who is known for his 4-2-3-1 style of play, has often reverted to a 4-3-3 in recent months with his Spurs side, giving game time to the likes of Ndombele, Lo Celso, Winks, and Dier.

Gedson Fernandes was also brought into the club in January on an 18-month loan deal from Benfica, but it appears Mourinho is yet to discover a Tottenham player who possess similar attributes to Nemanja Matic – a player who was crucial to his system at both Manchester United and Chelsea.

According to Football.London, defensive midfield is regarded as a priority position which the club will look to strengthen in the upcoming transfer window, with Premier League duo Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Nemanja Matic on the shortlist.

However, Spurs scout Steve Hitchen is reportedly a huge fan of Valencia defensive midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia (Sky Sports).

Initially it was reported that his club were looking for a fee in the region of his reported £61m release clause, however a recent development from the Evening Standard suggests Valencia could be willing to part with the 27-year-old for as little as €30m.

This latest figure would ultimately boost Tottenham’s chances of matching Valencia’s demands, with the club willing to spend in this region to strengthen depleted areas of the squad.

What would Kondogbia offer?

Kondogbia’s key information | Image: Transfermarkt.co.uk

According to TransferMarkt, the former Inter Milan man can occupy both central and defensive midfield areas and has featured 17 times in La Liga this season. He’s netted twice for his side this season, once in the league and once in the Champions League.

Securing the signature of Kondogbia would not only fill a void in the current squad, but it would also unlock the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, providing them with greater attacking freedom.

Kondogbia is recognised for his ability to break-up opposition attacks and can be a powerful presence when protecting the defensive line, similar to the role we’ve seen occupied by Matic in Mourinho’s system.

The midfielder also has an eye for goal, finding the back of the net 21 times in his career including four goals in the 2017/18 domestic season alone. The Valencia man is also powerful in the air and likes to time his offensive runs to arrive late at the edge of the box, a trait similar to Spurs’ Dele Alli.

Who are the other targets?

As widely reported, Kondogbia is not the only defensive midfielder on Spurs’ shortlist of targets ahead of the transfer window.

According to AS, Tottenham are just one of several clubs wanting to sign Rennes midfielder and teenage sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

The youngster has been valued at €50m by his club, with the likes of FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich also in the race for his signature.

Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was linked with a move to Spurs late in the January window (Sky Sports), but it all seemed too little too late from the north London side. With a longer window soon available to complete deals and with the Dane’s current deal expiring in 2021, there could be an opportunity for Spurs to rekindle their interest.

Mourinho’s favoured option in recent years has been Nemanja Matic, and he could prove to be a cheaper option to slot into defensive midfield. Manchester United recently took the option to extend the Serbian’s deal to 2021 (BBC), but the return of Scott McTominay could leave the 31-year-old on the sidelines.

 

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