Alessandro Bastoni and the transfer overhaul of Conte’s Spurs defense has been planned by Fabio Paratici

Fabio Paratici wants to strengthen Antonio Conte’s defense at Tottenham as his first priority in the summer transfer window.

Spurs’ head coach improved his defensive line on the field over his seven months and the club ended with the fourth-best defensive record in the Premier League, ending the season with five goals conceded from their last eight games. But since the Champions League is also on the table next season, Conte has asked to strengthen his defensive options in order to be able to rotate for the numerous games without losing quality.

The Italian stayed with the same back three with Cristian Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies for the second half of the season and probably would have done so for most of the season had Romero not missed three months with a hamstring injury. At the end of the season, Conte was left with only two fit full-backs in Ryan Sessegnon and Emerson Royal, both of whom had their own injury woes in recent months.

CONTINUE READING: The reason why Joe Rodon suddenly left the Spurs bench at Norwich and didn’t celebrate after the game

Conte and Paratici met at the latter’s base in Turin on a hot Friday morning to discuss the club’s transfer strategy for the summer and much of the conversation is said to have turned to the squad’s defensive side.

Paratici wasted no time in pushing a free transfer for Conte favorite Ivan Perisic. The 33-year-old will arrive at Hotspur Way this week to complete a medical and complete a two-year move to Tottenham expected to be £98,000-a-week after telling Inter Milan he has no plans to renew his contract with them.

Perisic is a winner and brings a wealth of experience, having won the Champions League, Serie A title under Conte and Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as well as domestic cup victories with four different clubs. Last season he scored 10 goals and provided nine assists in 49 games for Inter Milan, showing no signs of slowing down in almost 4,000 minutes of football.

Conte sees Perisic as a crucial cog to improve the side’s mentality in the big moments of next season and the Croatian has a lot of faith in the Italian’s coaching methods.

He can play as a left-back or as a conventional winger or even alongside the striker when needed, and Conte and Paratici believe Perisic can help 21-year-old Sessegnon as a mentor and push him to develop further as a full-back duo in a wide range of games in the next season. Conte has high hopes for Sessegnon if the England Under-21 international can have a good pre-season and stay away from any further hamstring problems.

Tottenham had also been exploring the possibility of signing Filip Kostic from Eintracht Frankfurt and will be listening to offers for Sergio Reguilon, who was unavailable in the final month of the season with a groin strain. The 25-year-old fell behind Sessegnon in the pecking order in the second half of the campaign and with the payment for his £28million transfer from Real Madrid in 2020, which is expected to be due this summer, Spurs are looking to make up for that by accepting similar offers from interested clubs. In this way, with the free transfer of Perisic, they have raised additional funds that they can invest in other areas of the team.

Tottenham are also set to improve their home numbers by making a change in the goalkeeping department. Pierluigi Gollini’s loan deal from Atalanta comes to an end without Spurs taking up the option to sign him permanently. Instead, the Italian’s place as Hugo Lloris’ replacement will be taken by 34-year-old England international Fraser Forster, who was on the bench for Gareth Southgate’s men in March’s friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.

The 6ft 5in goalkeeper made 24 appearances for Southampton last season and will join Spurs on a free transfer. Any player looking to move from one England team to another as a free agent can only open talks after entering the final month of his contract, which is why nothing formal has yet been signed or announced for Forster, who is signed with the Saints until June 30th.

While those two signings are free, Tottenham will inject the squad-building cash for Conte this summer with owner ENIC’s £150m capital injection plus any refunded transfer fees.

In the right-back role, Spurs are looking into another potential home-grown signing in Paratici, who has personally observed Djed Spence this season. The dynamic 21-year-old is on loan at Nottingham Forest from Middlesbrough and has made 49 appearances, scoring three goals and providing five assists.

football.london understands that Tottenham have a strong interest in Spence, who is involved for Forest in Sunday’s Championship play-off final against Huddersfield. There will be plenty of competition for the full-back’s signature, with Forest also keen to keep him if they get promoted to the Premier League, which could include trying to loan him out again if a bigger club signs the young winger.

Spurs will look to switch to one of their right-backs this summer. Matt Doherty has put himself in a good position to stay at the club after impressing Conte with his performances in the second half of the season before an unfortunate knee injury curtailed the 30-year-old’s campaign. Right-back Emerson Royal isn’t as comfortable in the full-back role as the Irishman and could be brought on for the exit door just 12 months after arriving in north London if expected offers for the 23-year-old Brazilian roll in.

In central defence, Spurs are expected to make some signings. Conte would like another left centre-back to rotate this side of the back three next season in Ben Davies, who enjoyed a career-best season under the Italian.

Spurs will pursue Conte and Paratici’s favorite Alessandro Bastoni from Inter Milan. The 23-year-old made 41 appearances under Conte last season and made a further 44 appearances this season while becoming a regular international starter for Italy.

The hope is that Bastoni can add quality to the left side of Tottenham’s back three to complement Romero’s strength and quality on the other side. There is also agreement that the Italian and Argentine are different types of players, with Bastoni seen within Spurs as a potential heir to Jan Vertonghen with a similarly skilled style as the Belgian as a ball-playing defender but without the same aggression and front foot style of Defender Romero brings.

That could potentially make his adjustment to the physical nature of the Premier League a bit more gradual than the Argentine’s, but Davies’ presence will ensure the Italian doesn’t need to be rushed and there’s a strong belief that Bastoni’s quality and high ceiling of Potential would make him a Premier League star once he gets used to the pace of the English game as expected.

There are indications that Bastoni is interested in a Conte reunion but Spurs’ biggest hurdle will be getting him away from Inter. The young defender has just two years left on his contract at Milan but it’s believed the Serie A club are unwilling to let him go for less than £51m, especially with Inter fans desperate for the player. Spurs are hopeful Inter’s need for cash, not least to sign another centre-back in Torino’s Gleison Bremer, will help them push through a deal.

football.london understands that Tottenham are also huge admirers of RB Leipzig’s 20-year-old centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who made 46 appearances in six Champions League appearances last season. However, the sought-after Croatian has a lengthy contract with Leipzig until 2026, signed last summer, and is said to be happy to remain in Germany amid interest from Manchester City and Chelsea.

Tottenham will need another centre-back sometime this summer, with at least one possible departure expected from the defence. Joe Rodon will move on in search of regular football this summer. The 24-year-old Wales international is expected to attract a lot of interest from Premier League sides in the upcoming window, particularly some of the newly promoted side.

Rodon has three years left on his original deal with Spurs, which he signed from Championship side Swansea, and the club have the choice of either selling him this summer or discussing a new deal to reflect his Premier League status and then loan him out for the season.

Japhet Tanganga also faced another season plagued by injuries, with a knee problem ending his season in February. He started eight of 14 games under Conte before the injury and is expected to be used heavily in preseason as the Italian takes another long look at him before making a decision on his future.

If either Rodon or Tanganga leave, another centre-back will be sought, while Davinson Sanchez’s future depends on what offers come in for him. Conte likes the Colombian, who seamlessly replaced Romero in the final games of the season as Spurs kept three clean sheets.

The head coach believes that if Sanchez can maintain his focus throughout games, he will have the other tools to be a top defender. However, the club record signing earlier will also have retained much of its original £42million value, which could see at least one tempting offer coming this season.

Spurs’ defensive options will look very different next season as Paratici and Conte build a squad strong enough to compete on all fronts. They will also look at attacking signings, looking for a forward-thinking central midfielder and striker, as well as replacing any outgoing attacking midfielders.

Leave a Comment