Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United may have thought that the race to sign Roma defender Mehdi Benatia was to be fought between them and them alone, but it would appear that their complacency could come back to haunt them, as Tottenham are now in talks with his club.
Spurs, who have remained relatively quiet thus far in this summer’s transfer window, are said to be trying to engineer moves for both Benatia and his Italian team-mate Mattia Destro, as Mauricio Pochettino looks to build on what is surely now a confirmed signing in Swansea’s Ben Davies.
Surprise move for Benatia
The 27-year-old Benatia has been highly lauded in recent seasons for his performances in Serie A, and it’s no wonder that he’s managed to attract plenty of European suitors given his experience.
This could count against Tottenham in the long run if he considers his ambitions to be more than what the north London club can offer him, though Chelsea - who are considered the frontrunners for his signature - will have to move decisively all the same.
The future of Benatia has been the subject of hot debate for some time, with it initially being thought that he would actively stage a protest in order to force a move away from Roma. Chelsea and City have both routinely been keeping checks on him, but the fact that neither has managed to convince Rudi Garcia to accept an offer yet means he could end up staying where he is.
That's of course unless Pochettino can succeed where the others have failed with his move. In truth Spurs' decision to swoop is somewhat surprising given the fact that they're not in the Champions League, and it would no doubt shock both Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini to see Benatia running around the Premier League in a white shirt next season.
Elsewhere for Tottenham they can bet on having to face strong competition in their bid to land Dutch starlet Memphis Depay, as Louis van Gaal remains keen on luring him to Old Trafford.
The £12million rated 20-year-old enjoyed a productive World Cup, but his emergence on the big stage has alerted European big boys of his presence, and so it’s unlikely he will remain at PSV past this summer.
Once again Pochettino will consider himself extremely fortunate if he manages to convince the playmaker to consent to a White Hart Lane switch, particularly given the fact that his reputation now precedes him. The promise of regular first-team football could be the only advantage the Argentinian has over Van Gaal, though the relationship between the latter and Depay shouldn't be understated.