With Christian Eriksen almost certain to depart Tottenham Hotspur, the north Londoners could do worse than look to Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos as a replacement.
The former Real Betis star is still one of Spanish football’s hottest properties right now, albeit he has been far too under-utilised at the Santiago Bernabeu.
A player who is as good defensively as offensively, who is fearless and has leadership qualities par excellence for his age, it’s right that he is regularly being talked up in dispatches.
Precisely the sort of individual that effects things when the right environment is created, he shone brightest at an under-performing Betis side, but give him a bigger platform and he has the tools and desire to excel further.
Just like Eriksen has been, Ceballos could be the conduit that melds it all together over at White Hart Lane.
He can break up play as well as Moussa Sissoko, find a pass almost as naturally as Eriksen, will work as hard as Dele Alli and Lucas Moura… and can beat players for fun.
Motivational, enthusiastic, full of drive, energy and endeavour, he also brings presence and creativity. Plus, at 22 years of age and £45m, he’s young and affordable.
Daniel Levy is a stickler for looking at the pounds and pence, but he’ll know that this is one deal that he can’t afford to pass up. Players with Ceballos’ skill set rarely come on to the market, particularly at the price quoted.
Florentino Perez is a known admirer, but with the club in need of recouping some of the €300m+ that they’ve already spent in this transfer window, the president will back Zinedine Zidane’s judgment.
The Frenchman only played the midfielder in two of his 11 games in charge towards the back end of last season, and he did well when he came on.
It’s a bit of a head scratcher why Zidane would allow the player to leave in any event, but it is abundantly clear that he doesn’t have a future with Los Blancos with their former player in charge.
Even scoring two and assisting two more in Spain’s opening three games of the U21 European Championships hasn’t been enough to convince Zidane to keep Ceballos at the club.
For those supporters still unconvinced by his potential arrival, think of a younger, more mobile Luka Modric.
Even Toni Kroos, talented though he is, doesn’t have the skills that Ceballos brings. He would be the perfect pupil to fuse all of the elements of Mauricio Pochettino’s way of working together, with only his goal scoring that needs a real improvement.
After a first-ever Champions League final berth, and a handful of ‘nearly but not quite’ seasons in the Premier League, it’s time for the Lilywhites to make that leap.
In order to do so, they need players who are not only willing and able, but who will drag their teammates to even higher levels of output. Who won’t settle for second best.
A few years ago his temper often let him down, but a more mature Dani Ceballos is now one of the signings of this summer.
For a number of reasons, Spurs need to be at the head of what’s expected to be a very long queue.