Just over a week from now, the January transfer window will open up. Whether or not any significant business is conducted by Tottenham Hotspur remains to be seen, but what won't stop are the abundance of transfer rumors surrounding the club.
Two days ago, we found out that Spurs are apparently back in for West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino, though it sounds as though Daniel Levy will try to get a bargain price for him and isn't going to sniff that original price tag of £25m. In case Berahino falls through for a second time, it would appear a backup plan is in place.
The Evening Standard are reporting that the club are impressed enough with Fulham's Moussa Dembele that it may be time to make an offer.
Tottenham will step up their pursuit of Fulham forward Moussa Dembele if they deem it too difficult to sign Saido Berahino from West Brom.
Spurs made four bids, all of which were rejected, for West Brom striker Berahino last summer, placing considerable strain on relations between the clubs.
The tension is thought to have eased slightly, and West Brom official Richard Garlick said earlier this month the Baggies would need to sell before they could buy in the January transfer window. But negotiations would still be far from simple.
Dembele has had a good run so far in the Championship with the Cottagers, bagging 10 goals in 23 matches, including a run of form where he scored five goals in three matches against Leeds, Reading, and Bristol City. He's been one of the bright spots so far, but Fulham have not exactly been setting the world on fire as they have accumulated just 24 points over those 23 matches and are only six points above the relegation zone at the midway point of the season.
According to the article, this seems dependent on whether or not Spurs are able to secure the services of Berahino, even though the two play differently. This also is going to depend on what Mauricio Pochettino truly feels he needs the most, whether it be a versatile forward that can play out wide and in the middle or if he wants an out-and-out center forward.
Beyond team needs and Pochettino's decisions, two factors will decide if anything happens: Can Daniel Levy convince Jeremy Peace to sell Berahino and whether or not Fulham truly want to sell Dembele. The relationship between WBA and Spurs is obviously strained, given the way the summer ended, so those negotiations could be over before they even fire back up. Bridges are never fully burned in the business of transfers, but Peace is not a fan of Levy and may just ignore any phone call from North London.
As for the second factor, the Cottagers are not firmly in the mid-table in the Championship and could find themselves in the relegation battle as the season wears on. It's also unlikely that Fulham are going to be in the top six discussion at the end of the season, even though they're only ten points out of sixth. The Cottagers would probably prefer to have Dembele around to survive the drop, but with this many clubs sniffing around, a transfer request from Dembele wouldn't be a surprise.
Regardless of how you feel about Berahino and the way this never-ending saga has gone since the summer, Dembele is a player the club should be targeting anyways. The Frenchman has good pace, is a decent target at six feet tall, and still has room to grow. Dembele would also be cheaper than Berahino, even though the list of teams interested in the teenager's services is very long. For now, this appears to be "Plan B" but don't be surprised if Dembele becomes the primary target in January, and depending on what you feel the club really needs, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.