Finally, at least partially, Tottenham Hotspurs’ hunt for a centre-back seems to be on the move, as Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet looks set for a switch to N17.
The deal for Lenglet is all but confirmed, with the defender being a welcomed addition to Antonio Conte’s squad as competition to Ben Davies at left centre-back.
Although initially joining on loan, it’s believed Spurs have an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the coming season for a suggested €10 million.
Despite being criticised in recent times, Lenglet has shown the ability to play at an elite level – back at Sevilla – and given he is 27, the possibility of triggering his buy-option could be viable for Conte given the cost; assuming he performs.
Since joining the Catalan club, Lenglet has been a constant for the side, appearing 158 times and earning 15 caps for France whilst being part of the squad that lifted the 2020/21 Nations League.
Lenglet also tasted silverware at Barcelona, playing a role in a La Liga title, Spanish Cup, and Spanish Super Cup during his tenure. As an addition alongside Ivan Perisic, it may help instill a winning mentality into a current trophy-barren Tottenham squad.
With Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia now playing active roles for the Blaugrana and Andreas Christensen arriving on a free transfer from Chelsea, Lenglet looks to be surplus to requirements, thus facilitating our expected move for the defender.
But why Lenglet at Tottenham?
Compared to Ben Davies, who he would presumably replace, Lenglet’s underlying numbers paint the picture of a more front-footed defender who could prove a valuable asset to Conte’s side.
The Frenchman makes 11.98 pressures and 1.8 tackles per 90, bettering Davies in both metrics, whilst he is also comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Lenglet is astute at progressing the ball, ranking in the top 1% of centre-backs in Europe’s top five leagues last season for attempted passes, progressive passes, and progressive carries, again besting Davies in all three accounts.
Moreover, he has an excellent range of passing, completing an even split of medium and long-range passes – around 15 a game – and while 22 short passes mark a slight increase, this is to be expected for a ball-playing centre-back of his mould.
Lenglet’s experiences in the competition could benefit the squad with Champions League football back in North London next season. The Frenchman has played an active role in the competition for the last five seasons, boasting 43 appearances across four campaigns with Barcelona and one with Sevilla.
Admittedly, Lenglet may not be the glamourous, high-profile defender some of us have pictured joining the club, but considering he arrives on loan and with a buy-option could look like a real coup in times to come.
He should shore up our backline and still leave Conte funds to play with this window, potentially even for another centre-back. In a worst-case scenario, he will return to Barcelona next season with little downside for Tottenham.
Lenglet will soon follow Perisic, Forster, Bissouma, and Richarlison to become Tottenham’s fifth window signing, continuing our excellent start to this summer’s business.