COMMENT By Richard Parks
The transfer window is not yet open, but Tottenham have made a strong hint as to where one of their priorities lie this summer.
It appears to involve signing a central midfielder to replace Mousa Dembele, the brilliant mainstay of the last six seasons.
Italian site Transfer Market Web claim the north Londoners have submitted an “opening” offer for Napoli midfielder Amadou Diawara.
It is said that Serie A giants Napoli are willing to sell the Guinean player, 20, for the right price and may instead keep his in-demand teammate Jorginho.
It is a measure of Diawara’s precocity that he has already made 55 appearances for Napoli after signing from Bologna two years ago.
A strong and powerful central midfielder standing at 6ft, the 20-year-old is an emerging star, rather than an established one, and already looks like a future Victor Wanyama.
But would he be a replacement for Dembele rather than the Kenya international?
Widespread reports in recent weeks have suggested Tottenham are opening to selling the Belgium international, who turns 31 in July and has suffered his share of niggling injuries in recent years.
He delivered a series of masterclasses in February and March in Spurs’ nearly-but-not-quite season but is out of contract in a year’s time and this summer represents the last opportunity to get a fee for him.
Spurs fans will be concerned that Diawara is not a regular starter at Napoli, with only five Serie A starts to his name this season, but there is no disgrace in that for a youngster at a club who will finish a comfortable second in this season’s league.
However much it will anger fans that Dembele will be sold, Tottenham need to sell before they can buy and, crucially, Napoli are willing to do business, which means Diawara is an understandable target.
He is one for the future, as well as the here and now.