Tottenham are expected to be in the market for a centre-back in the January transfer window following the injury to Micky van de Ven.
Ange Postecoglou’s side will be without the pacy Dutchman for a few few months after his hamstring tear in Spurs’ 4-1 loss to Chelsea earlier this month.
The club could also be set to lose Eric Dier, who came on in that game following the dismissal of Christian Romero, as his 2024 contract expiration draws nearer.
As a result, the north London side are set to dip into the transfer market to bolster their defensive options as they look to capitalise on their surprisingly good start.
Spurs’ policy of recruiting young, high-potential players is likely to be unchanged, while the need for a defender will the physical attributes required to carry out Postecoglou’s high-pressing style is paramount.
Micky van de Ven will reportedly not need surgery after his hamstring injury against Chelsea
Eric Dier’s Tottenham contract runs out at the end of the season meaning he will be free to speak to clubs about a potential free transfer this January
AC Milan defender Malick Thiaw (right) has shown an ability to play across the back line
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Toward the top of that list could be AC Milan youngster Malick Thiaw, who has been a mainstay of the Rossoneri defence this term and started 10 of the side’s first 12 Serie A games.
The 22-year-old stands at 6ft 4in – the same as Van de Ven – though, despite being no slouch, his speed can not be compared to the Tottenham defender. Thiaw is an aggressive front-footed defender who holds his own against the most physically dominant forwards in the Italian top-flight.
But crucially he is right-footed, even if he has been adept on the left side of a back four or as the left-sided centre back in a back three.
Spurs could also look to Benfica youngster Morato, who has found game time hard to come by with the Portuguese giants so far this term.
The 21-year-old has played more games in the Champions League than in Liga Portugal, however, with a record of four losses from four matches, their European displays are unlikely to excite Tottenham supporters.
To the young Brazilian’s credit he has already racked up 60 appearances for the side since making his debut in 2019. He is left footed, 6ft 3in and more than capable of excelling in Postecoglou’s daring passing system.
The defender’s technical ability sets him apart from the other options at Spurs’ disposal and is even superior to the former Wolfsburg defender he could be brought in to cover.
Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio is another centre half in the same mold as Morato. The 22-year-old is a few inches shorter at 6ft 1in but he has tons of experience having played 139 times for the Portuguese side.
Benfica youngster Morato (left) has already racked up 60 appearances for the side since making his debut in 2019
Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio has attracted interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool and Arsenal
English centre-backs Marc Guehi (left) and Jarrad Branthwaite (right) could also be in the mix
Inacio has attracted interest from several Premier League clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal. Another left-footed player, Inacio also has good eye for a goal – for a defender. He has netted 11 times for his club and also chipped in eight assists.
Closer to home, Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi and Everton starlet Jarrad Branthwaite could also be on the January wishlist.
Marc Guehi’s contract at Selhurst Park runs until 2026 by which point he will be expecting to be playing for a side pushing for European competition – considering his progress at international level.
Branthwaite, meanwhile has been a revelation for the Toffees this season, with his ascension to the first team coinciding with Sean Dyche’s side’s uptick in form.