Cartilage Free Captain wrote about Spurs’ supposed bid for nineteen year-old Turkish attacker Cengiz Under way back on May 30th. The youngster proved pivotal in Istanbul Basaksehir’s surprising second place finish in the Turkish Super Liga and he’s already earned two caps for the Turkish senior national team. The bid Tottenham placed was rumored to be around £8 million and Manchester United were also identified as having interest.
Yet the links of Under to Spurs have lost steam and now another big fish has entered the pond. Manchester City are believed to have lodged an offer for the phenom and are in talks with Istanbul Basaksehir to procure his services. The site publishing this rumor has no concrete details on the transfer fee or wages, nor does it have direct quotes from from either City, Istanbul Basaksehir, or Under’s representatives on these negotiations. They are ostensible at best. It did have quotes from Under himself though:
“The league I really want to play in is the Premier League and I would also love La Liga,” Under told beIN Turkey.
So the kid wants to play in a top league, nothing surprising here, but it looks like the Premier League is his first choice. This then means two things really. First, either his agents, the Turkish media, or both are just simply floating around big Premier League club name for clicks and narrative. Second, Under isn’t too tied to one Premier League side. He is stating not that he wants to play for Spurs or City, but just to play in the Premier League in general. If we take this then, his potential transfer has everything to do with money and wages and little to do with personal preference.
Of course, from a purely footballing perspective, Spurs are the better fit. Guardiola is searching for world-class players who will impact his team now — see the shunning of should-be Tottenham target Kelechi Iheanachowho for proof — while Spurs certainly have a different structure to their transfer philosophy. There is competition in Spurs attack, that is for sure, but Under is more likely to see opportunities to in North London than the Etihad.
The last two flier signings that Spurs made haven’t totally worked out. Clinton N’Jie looks to be making a permanent move to Marseille, while Georges-Kévin N’koudou didn’t exactly light the world on fire in his first year with the club. Spurs bought N’Jie for £12 million back in 2015, but that fee would have only risen that high if N’Jie met specific goals, which he definitely did not. Reports say that N’Jie was sold for close to £6 million so Spurs lost money on the Cameroonian, but not a devastating amount, likely a £3-£4 million loss, which isn’t the end of the world.
In a market with consistent and continually inflated transfer prices, Spurs taking chances on a promising young player or two every summer, whose price isn’t insane, isn’t a bad policy even if things don’t pan out. Under looks like one of these players, though a bit more heralded than either Clinton or GKN.
City might have the upper hand in the Under transfer right now, yet for a ballpark figure of £8 million, Spurs might want to step up their negotiations for a player who is well regarded by many clubs and has scored in both of his senior national team appearances. At worst, we are burned for a few million pounds, at best we add a player who lives up to his pedigree, produces at a high level, and whose value skyrockets. Go get him Daniel Levy — or don’t and sign Thomas Lemar or Douglas Costa. Ok, thanks!