Djed Spence transfer: Why do so many Premier League teams want to sign him?

Middlesbrough Djed Spence transfer latest

Such is the compressed nature of the footballing calendar amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the January transfer window is a little over nine weeks away. 

Only seven games into the new campaign, the proverbial rumour mill is already churning ahead of the New Year Sales as Premier League sides look to strengthen in this most strange of seasons. 

One of the names already linked with a move to the top tier of English football is Middlesbrough's Djed Spence, with TEAMtalk touting him as a potential target for a number of sides in the division. 

So, who exactly is he?

Well, Spence is a right-back to have impressed under Neil Warnock up on Teesside this season after initially breaking through under Jonathan Woodgate half-way through the 2019-20 campaign. 

A former Fulham academy player, the likes of Wolves, Everton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace are all said to have tracked him of late, despite the fact he only recently penned a new deal that sees him under contract until 2022. 

Why do so many teams want to sign him?

While his raw statistics don't rank all that highly in terms of general Championship players, the 20-year-old is still developing and is making a real impact in the context of Boro's first-team. 

Only Patrick Roberts makes more than his 1.92 progressive runs per match and only the more established Marcus Tavernier, Marvin Johnson, Hayden Coulson and Roberts himself beat his 3.5 successful dribbles per 90. 

Defensively, only six of Boro's players can top his 36 interceptions across the Championship fixtures so far this term and Warnock himself has predicted Spence will make the 'very top'. 

Spence graphic

As you can see from the graphic above, a lot of the excitement surrounds his potential more than anything.

That, of course, is to be expected given his age but the fact he's attempting more dribbles, key passes, pressing duels and loose ball duels than some of the more established names is promising.

Should he improve his end product as his career develops, it's not hard to imagine him featuring regularly in the Premier League. 

Looking at the numbers above and considering some of the names in that graphic, Warnock appears to be right when talking up his exciting young player. 

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