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Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a whole host of central midfield players in recent months who are reportedly being lined up to replace Mousa Dembele, but a recent report hints that one of their key targets has already joined Arsenal.
After six and a half years in north London it seems that the departure of Dembele is looming on the imminent horizon. The twinkle-toed, deep-lying and powerful midfield lynchpin has been a delight to watch for the Lilywhites faithful down the years, but with his contract set to expire this summer and interest intensifying from China the end of his days at Spurs seem numbered.
Mauricio Pochettino, Daniel Levy and chief scout Steve Hitchen will have been acutely aware of the need to replace Dembele for a number of years, and a recent report from Sky Sports suggests that they have thoroughly analysed the market in their hunt for a new maestro.
Florian Grillitsch, Denis Zakaria, Tanguy N’Dombele and Sander Berge are all reportedly on Tottenham’s radar, but the same report suggests they were interested in Matteo Guendouzi before he made the switch to Arsenal.
Indeed, both Guendouzi and Geoffrey Kondogbia have been cited as players who Spurs admire but missed out on as they agreed to join Arsenal and Valencia respectively.
Guendouzi’s impact at the Emirates Stadium has been somewhat overshadowed by the exceptional performances of Lucas Torreira, but the 19-year-old has also showcased a level of promise which hints he is destined to thrive at the top level.
Signs of inexperience do manifest themselves in his performances from time to time in the shape of rushed passes and poor decision making. But the signs of promise significantly outweigh his weaknesses at this stage and it’s clear Arsenal have signed a true gem in a bargain deal.
Guendouzi is a player who tends to oscillate across the midfield in search of the ball before delivering incisive forward passes into his most dangerous teammates, while defensively he covers plenty of ground in his endeavour to recover possession.
He’s far from a ready made replacement for Dembele, but in the current climate he would have been a dream signing for Levy at just £8 million.
Tottenham’s search for their Dembele replacement will continue this month and the fans may need to wait until the summer before a significant agreement is reached, but they may yet live to regret their failure to pip their bitter local-rivals to Guendouzi’s signature as his career develops down the road.