COMMENT By Derek Smithson
Some of Europe’s greatest young talent will be on show in June during the European Under-21s Championship and Tottenham should be on the search for the next rising star.
Mauricio Pochettino has shown a willingness to promote youth during his time with Spurs and he should look to continue that policy.
Star players Harry Kane and Dele Alli have both developed into key first-team players at the north London club and there is no reason they can’t pick up someone from the major youth tournament.
Here, Football Insider picks out three stars that Spurs should keep a close eye on as they have the potential to become top-class stars.
Joao Cancelo (Portugal and Valencia)
Valencia defender Cancelo is expected to play a major role for Portugal in the Championships and is already an experienced first-team player at club level. The right-back has emerged as an important player for La Liga side Valencia and made 38 appearances across all competitions last season. The 23-year-old is blessed with great pace and is someone that would fit the style at Spurs. Pochettino may be on the search for a new right-back if Kyle Walker completes a move to Manchester City and Cancelo has the potential to be a great replacement.
Daniele Rugani (Italy and Juventus)
Italian youngster Rugani should play a major role for his nation in the tournament and Spurs scouts should be closely monitoring the defender’s progress. Spurs do already have very strong options at centre-back in the shape of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertognhen and Eric Dier, but need to bolster their options to help them compete for silverware next season. Rugani is a highly rated talent at Italian giants Juventus and does already have Champions League experience under his belt. The 22-year-old made 20 appearances across all competitions last season and his progress was only halted by injury. However, Juventus’ backline is extremely competitive and a move to the Premier League could present more opportunities.
Renato Sanches (Portugal and Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich midfielder Sanches has endured a nightmare season with the German heavyweights and could do with a move to reignite him. The 19-year-old helped Portugal’s senior team win the European Championships in 2016, but has been dropped down to the youth side and will hope to repeat the accolade in June. He struggled to make an impact in the Bayern side and made just 25 appearances across all competitions, without registering a goal or an assist in that time. Spurs should monitor the youngster to see if he can recapture his form as there is certainly a star waiting to be unearthed.
In other Tottenham transfer news, Pochettino has identified a £20million-rated defender.