There haven't been Premier League games the past week to obsess over, which naturally means the transfer rumors start to get restless in #batcountry. The latest, which has made the rounds on social media, comes from the Brentwood Gazette, which states that Spurs are in "advanced talks" to sign young Belgian and Olympique de Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi.
Spurs have been linked with Batshuayi since at least last summer, long enough that I now know how to spell "Michy Batshuayi" without looking it up. He's 22 years old and has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season, his club's top scorer and a lone bright spot in what's been a fairly miserable season for OM. (Steven Fletcher is a striker at OM, if that tells you anything). Michy's a whopper of a talent, and a lot of Spurs fans (myself included) get that feeling in their bellies when they think about him wearing a Spurs kit next season.
So let's first get excited by sourcing this rumor with an actual Spurs journalist. Check out what Lyall Thomas said on Twitter today when asked if Spurs were still interested in Batshuayi:
But they face competition from Juventus, Dortmund, Atletico, Arsenal and West Ham. Will go where he will be played the most.— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) March 30, 2016
"Will go where he will be played the most"? That could be good or not so good, depending on your point of view. If you see Batshuayi as a dynamic lead-the-line striker that pushes Kane into more of a withdrawn striker or mock-9 in two striker formations, well, that's a pretty tasty little tidbit from Lyall. However, if you see Michy as the primary backup to Harry Kane in a one-striker formation and someone who would get lots of cup and bottom-table league minutes, welp.
However, factor in here that, if you'll allow me to put the cart firmly in front of the horse for a minute, Tottenham are very likely going to be able to offer Champions League football to potential players next season. That's the good news. The bad news is: so will Juventus, Atletico, Dortmund, Arsenal, and maybe West Ham, all of which, with the possible exception of West Ham, have equal or greater purchasing power than Spurs do at present.
And then there's Lyall again:
No, Spurs not in contact with club yet. Juve, West Ham much further along... Spurs not decided on striker target yet https://t.co/mkLPUquq03— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) March 30, 2016
Michy just signed a new contract with Marseille back in January that runs through 2020, and that was AFTER rumors had started circulating that OM wouldn't let him go for less than £30m. Juve can certainly afford to drop £30m for a striker, and if West Ham finishes fourth they may decide to try and do what Everton did with Lukaku.
In the meantime, Spurs are still strongly linked with the likes of Saido Berahino, Fulham's Moussa Dembele, and a raft of other talented strikers, most of whom will come a lot cheaper than Michy. In short, it's way too soon to make any sort of conclusions about Tottenham's likelihood of signing Batshuayi or any transfer target at this stage of the season.
Transfer rumors are fun. I love them. But it's always good to be super critical of them: look for the original source, find corroboration (or contradiction) from journalists actually close to the club, and make them prove their veracity. If you learn nothing else from reading this blog, let it be this.
I'd love to see Michy Batshuayi lining up for Tottenham next season, but at present it looks as though he's only one of a number of targets that Spurs are examining, with none of them very far along in terms of negotiations. It'll be a while before we know whether this rumor has any sort of legs at all.