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Tottenham’s link to Florian Grillitsch isn’t new, but still interesting

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Grillitsch would give Spurs’ midfield a solid-tackling, defensive shielding presence.

Manchester City v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - UEFA Champions League Group F Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Hoffenheim defensive midfielder Florian Grillitsch is in the news again today as a potential target for Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a Sky Sports report that claims he’s on a list of potential replacements for Mousa Dembele.

However, there’s nothing particularly new about this information. We wrote a little about Grillitsch in mid-December after an article appeared in Germain daily BILD suggesting that he was on Spurs’ radar and that he had a release clause of €20m. There’s literally nothing in the Sky report that adds anything new or interesting to what was in BILD, though.

So “Sky Sources” are actually just month-old German newspaper articles. Good to know! But that’s okay, because it puts the focus back on Grillitsch, who is a good player. The Austrian DM would be a pretty good fit for a Tottenham side that desperately needs a little more grit in the center of the pitch.

If there’s a current Tottenham player to whom Grillitsch is a close analog, it’s probably Victor Wanyama. Grillitsch averages almost two and half tackles per match and his passing numbers are pretty good as well. He’s not going to be bursting forward into the box that often, but he can comfortably run around, tackle people, and break things. In a post-Wanyama world, he’d easily slot into Spurs’ midfield and give them a player who would be a presence. That’s something we haven’t really had since Eric Dier had his appendix removed and Mousa Dembele shuffled off this mortal coil.

The other thing to keep an eye on is that Hoffenheim has slid down the Bundesliga table a bit — they’re currently in seventh, six points out of a Champions League place. If Hoffenheim were hoping to keep ahold of him for a run to the top four, that’s looking a little less likely now.

£18m is pretty darn cheap for a Bundesliga midfielder, and looking at a player with a release clause feels like a very Daniel Levy kind of thing to do. The extra attention from Sky might indicate that things are hotting up slightly over Grillitsch, or it might just be old news. Either way, Grillitsch would be a player that Spurs should probably be looking at this summer, if not yet this month.