Amidst growing criticism of Tottenham’s transfer policy this summer, Daniel Levy is on the verge of making a remarkable swoop as the club approach both Paulo Dybala and Philippe Coutinho.
Per reports in Italy, Juventus have accepted a €70million bid for the Argentine, days after he turned down Manchester United.
The offer of Champions League football gives Spurs an advantage over their top-six rivals, though it’s possible the deal will be complicated by the fact the attacking midfielder’s image rights are owned by another party, especially as a deal has been left to the 11th hour of the transfer window.
Dybala’s wage demands were also a sticking point in his negotiations with United. However, the Bianconeri have made it clear he is unwanted in Turin, which may have influenced his willingness to consider a switch to Tottenham.
As for Coutinho, Barcelona are willing to loan the Brazilian back to England after he failed to settle in his first 18 months in La Liga.
Thus far, Mauricio Pochettino has only sanctioned the additions of Jack Clarke, who has immediately been loaned back to Leeds, and central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. There are a number of other pressing concerns, particularly in the full-back positions. Kieran Trippier has left for Atletico Madrid, Serge Aurier and makeshift right-backs Juan Foyth and Eric Dier are both injured, while Kyle Walker-Peters is being eyed up by Southampton.
It may seem strange, in that context, that Levy seems intent on strengthening their attack, and not by bringing in a back-up for Harry Kane. Intriguingly, the Spurs chairman is currently in Miami, where Barcelona have been playing in pre-season.
Yet it is telling of an overhaul that has long been considered. On paper, there may be little room for Dybala or Coutinho, but that could well change in the coming days as Manchester United step up their interest in Christian Eriksen.
What is more, Pochettino has expressed concern at the number of hamstring injuries Dele Alli has sustained in his short career so far. The 23-year-old will miss the season opener against Aston Villa and it is unclear when he will return. Last season, the playmaker started just 22 league games, the fewest since he arrived in north London in 2015. In line with that, his tally of five goals and three assists was also his lowest at Spurs.
The England international will be watching on closely, therefore, as arguably either Dybala or Coutinho could step in and take his place.
The Juventus forward, in particular, who may be keen to join a growing contingent of his compatriots at Spurs – Pochettino is joined by Foyth, Erik Lamela, and Paolo Gazzaniga – would also be an option upfront on his own when needed. In the same way Son Heung-min has been utilised during Kane’s injury spells, Dybala is able to lead the line single-handedly.
His existing role has been up for debate since he was usurped by Cristiano Ronaldo as the Old Lady’s poster boy. If anything, it may have made him all the more versatile and Pochettino is keen on players like Son and Lucas Moura who can offer different options across the front four.
Coutinho, on the other hand, would serve as a more like-for-like replacement for Eriksen. The 27-year-old played his finest football in the Premier League and as his stint would only be short-term, there would be less risk involved.
Due to the cost of the operation, it is hard to envisage both signings being completed. Levy is surely considering a ‘one or the other’ scenario, having a hand in both pies just in case.
If Tottenham are able to finalise a deal for either player, this will be more than a statement of intent. The stillness of the last three transfer windows could be forgotten in an instant.