In the summer, it's always good to start your day off with a cup of coffee, a nice breakfast, and a fun transfer rumor. Today, there's news from South America: the father of 22-year old Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri has apparently let slip that his son has a "verbal agreement" to sign with Tottenham Hotspur this summer.
BREAKING:— Felipe Mekhitarian (@BrasileiraoBlog) May 23, 2016
Guillermo Calleri, Jonathan Calleri's father has told São Paulo board members his son has a verbal agreement with Tottenham.
UPDATE:— Felipe Mekhitarian (@BrasileiraoBlog) May 23, 2016
The only thing that'd prevent this move would be if his club, São Paulo, win the Libertadores & make it to the FIFA Club World Cup.
So who exactly is this guy? Jonathan Calleri is an Argentine striker currently on loan at Sao Paulo this season and has been on the radars of a number of big clubs for a couple of years now, including Inter Milan. While we didn't write about it at the time, Spurs were actually linked to him back in March; apparently Mauricio Pochettino likes him a lot and tipped Daniel Levy to his possible availability. He's also linked to West Ham because this summer it's probably impossible for a Spurs target not to be linked to West Ham.
Calleri is currently the joint-top scorer at this year's Copa Libertadores with eight goals in 720 minutes. This season between club and the Libertadores he's scored 13 goals and notched 8 assists in 2100 total minutes. Those are pretty good production numbers for a young striker! Transfermarkt values him at about €7.5m, which probably isn't very accurate.
Here's his obligatory YouTube highlight video set to bad music.
Based on this video, Calleri looks like a solid, young line-leading pure striker with some pretty good finishing, albeit in the Brazilian league. He doesn't look like he's involved in the buildup of play all that much based on this video, but he knows how to find open space and also seems to have a nose for goal. The video shows him finishing in a number of different ways, including a couple of headers.
So I'd say half of you are probably reading this and thinking "Young Paul Mitchell Black Box target, looks promising," and the other half are sitting in a corner rocking back and forth muttering "Damiao... Damiao... Damiao..." And indeed, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when we look at this rumor.
First, we're dealing with what is apparently a third-hand rumor from the father of a young Argentine player with a lot of upside. That doesn't necessarily make it false, but it does raise the possibility that this is Calleri's dad doing work to get him a better deal in South America, or in Italy.
Secondly, as is sometimes the case with talented young South American players, there are some complicated third-party ownership things happening. Apparently a group of third party investors bought part of his rights from Sao Paolo, moved him to Deportivo Maldonado in Uruguay, and then loaned him back to Sao Paolo because reasons. As of right now, Calleri's loan ends on June 30, but if Sao Paolo makes the Copa Lib finals, his loan will be extended further.
Third party ownership is a blight on soccer and infinitely complicates any potential transfer, so that could be an alternate reason why this is being called a "verbal agreement" with Tottenham. This could be Spurs' scouting department getting irrationally excited and ready to pounce on a young potential Argentinian superstar, but waiting to see how the chips fall.
It's also possible that this rumor is completely bogus.
In short, without further information there's no real way to judge how realistic this rumor is. But there does seem to be a little smoke coming from the direction of Brazil. Don't get your hopes up too high right now, but this might be a rumor to keep an eye on as Spurs continue to look at striker options for next season.