The summer transfer window is in full swing and Tottenham have already been working to strengthen Antonio Conte’s squad ahead of the 2022/23 season. The new arrivals – Fraser Forster, Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma will all hopefully have a positive impact on the Spurs side, benefiting the squad with their individual qualities.
The Italian wants at least six new arrivals this summer, so there is still business to be done, but it has been a positive start. One role which the Italian could still do with more options in, is central midfield.
With the addition of the Mali international, Conte now has five options for the two roles in the middle. Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were in the regular XI, especially in the second half of the season and stepped up when required.
READ MORE:Yves Bissouma, Eriksen, Hojbjerg, Pape Matar Sarr and what happens now in Spurs’ midfield
There had been some talk of the Dane’s future in N17 being questioned but football.london understands the 26-year-old will remain at Tottenham. Harry Winks is the one midfielder who seems most likely to leave this summer, with the Englishman struggling to get regular game time even before Bissouma’s arrival.
Oliver Skipp should be back in time for the tough pre-season that is approaching. Conte will now also have Bissouma, as well as potentially Pape Matar Sarr, who is set to return from his loan at Metz.
This means the Italian will have at least four strong midfielders to choose from. However with the busy fixture schedule that the 2022/23 campaign will bring, the 52-year-old needs enough quality to make necessary rotations and not have the level of his side drop.
Tottenham have been linked with a number of other midfielders already this summer. Despite the improvements seen, since Conte’s arrival, the Lilywhites could still do with an attacking-minded midfielder who can add even more creativity and a strong link between defense and attack.
Spurs have been linked with the likes of Weston McKennie, James Maddison and a return for Christian Eriksen. The Dane had a successful spell at Brentford, when he joined in January, after his return to football following his cardiac arrest last summer.
The 30-year-old’s contract is up this summer, which sparked the links of him making the move back to N17. However, football.londonunderstands Tottenham haven’t followed up their interest in Eriksen yet and this makes a return seem less likely.
Spurs looked like they had a boost in the pursuit for the midfielder, with his want to stay in London. However with the various offers he has had, this may not be as much of a deciding factor now.
Therefore Fabio Paratici may need to look for a replacement in the role the Danish international could’ve filled. This could come from Lucas Paqueta, who has been linked with Arsenal and Newcastle, but football.london reported earlier this month that the Brazilian is a player Spurs have been tracking.
The 24-year-old scored nine goals and registered six assists in 35 Ligue 1 games for Lyon last season. Most of Paqueta’s appearances were as an attacking midfielder, but the Brazilian can play centrally, on the right or up front.
This versatility is just one of the many beneficial qualities the current Lyon midfielder has, which could be a boost to Conte. Paqueta is a player who has received praise from both his managers in the last year.
In April 2021, former Lyon boss Rudi Garcia waxed lyrical about the 24-year-old’s qualities. “Paqueta is very good, he provides many assists and on the pitch, he has an excellent relationship with [Memphis] Depay,” the 58-year-old admitted.
“He helps his teammates and has a great team spirit, this aspect is his great strength. Lucas scores and doesn’t forget to play for himself either. He’s ready in the box and has an excellent shot from outside, there are very few like him.”
The compliments were echoed by the current French side’s coach, Peter Bosz. “We know he’s a good player and we’ve seen why,” he explained last September.
“He had a very good match. Lucas played an amazing game, he was very strong with and without the ball. An extraordinary match, like the other players. Lucas was extraordinary, it must be said.”
According to French news outlet L’Equipe, Paqueta wants to leave Lyon this summer, but it will come at a cost to Tottenham. The Ligue 1 side reportedly want £51million for the Brazilian, however with Spurs’ £150million investment from ENIC and money they are likely to make from some outgoings, the signing wouldn’t break the bank, especially considering the business they’ve already completed at a low cost.
If Tottenham can’t secure a reunion with Eriksen and Conte wants a strong midfielder to add to his squad, Paqueta could be a good alternative, but only time will tell who Spurs target.