By Danny Wright
Tottenham are stepping up their efforts to sign Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop and have made him their No 1 summer priority transfer target, according to a report.
The Mirror claims that this has left Spurs’ long-standing pursuit of Everton playmaker Ross Barkley left in limbo with the two Premier League sides unable to agree on a price.
It is understood that the England international is keen to move to north London after failing to sign a new contract at Goodison Park with less than a year left on his current deal.
The report adds that although Everton are looking to sell Barkley, it remains to be seen whether they will budge from their £50million asking price.
Celta Vigo’s Diop would represent a much cheaper deal for Tottenham, who are the only Premier League side yet to making a signing this summer.
ESPN FC has previously reported that the 20-year-old La Liga star has a £25million release clause tied into his contract, meaning that he could cost half as much as Barkley should Everton stick to their guns.
Spain Under-19 international Diop is yet to have found himself earning a consistent spot in Celta’s first-team, having only made 19 appearances last season, with just six of them being starts.
Football Insider Verdict
Tottenham need to be very careful with their pursuit of Diop. The Spanish youth international is yet to earn a regular spot in the first-team at Celta and at £25million, it would be a massive risk to take in signing him up. As the transfer deadline gets closer, Everton will have to drop their asking price for Barkley. Spurs might be able to get him for as low as £30million if they play their cards right because Everton will be running the risk of losing him for free once September is reached. Barkley is proven in the Premier League and has a lot more experience than Diop. Mauricio Pochettino has waited a long time to get his first signing of the summer and it won’t hurt to wait even longer to get Barkley on the cheap.
In other Tottenham news, Spurs have been made favourites to land this striker from one of their Premier League title rivals.