I woke up this morning to numerous reports on social media suggesting that Tottenham Hotspur are in the running to sign England U21 international and QPR attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze. If this is accurate, it’s a statement of intent from Spurs, and signal that Spurs are still committed to finding outstanding young players as they continue their refresh.
Here’s the most prominent tweet I’ve seen thus far, from youth-centric Tottenham blog @lilywhite_rose:
#thfc We’re told the club are in discussions with QPR regarding the permanent transfer of England u21 international, Ebere Eze. Discussions have also taken place with one or two Spurs players to join Rangers as part of any deal. pic.twitter.com/N2GWG2Onif— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) December 19, 2019
Unless you’re an avid follower of Championship football you may not have heard of Eze, but he’s having a breakout year at QPR this season. Just 21, he’s started every match for Rangers this season and has already tallied nine goals and four assists in just under 2000 minutes of football. Statsbomb did a really nice feature on him back in October and particularly noted his versatility — while Mark Warburton has employed him mostly in the hole at the #10 position, he’s equally comfortable in a wide attacking midfield role and has also been dropped deeper as a #8 on a few occasions this season. Statsbomb in particular notes his ability to transition the ball between defense and attack. You can see his radar in the linked article.
Eze’s stats are a little weird — they show he makes a lot of safe passes but also loves to dribble at opponents, a weird combination that kind of puts him in a role that’s a CM-AM tweener. Want a YouTube highlight video? Here’s one that really shows off his progressive dribbling ability.
One of the Carty Free masthead referred to his numbers as “Jack Grealish-esque” which is not by any means a pejorative, but calls into question in what role he might work best at Spurs. It may not matter too much. Eze seems to be the kind of talent that, if you can acquire him, you pick up now and figure out how he fits in later. There are a lot of Championship and young talent watchers who have a lot of good things to say about Eze and his potential.
The Lilywhite_Owl rumor states that Spurs are considering sending at least one player to QPR as part of the compensation. Tottenham have a good working relationship with Warburton and have sent a number of players to clubs where he’s a manager over the years. Luke Amos is currently at QPR on loan and would be the obvious choice to head there on a permanent basis, and there are a couple of former Tottenham players at QPR right now including Grant Hall and Dominic Ball.
The rumor itself isn’t a whole lot to go on, though Lilywhite_Rose is pretty well connected to youth football sources. It isn’t something that has hit the major papers yet, and there isn’t any indication on how much Eze would cost. My guess is that he wouldn’t come cheap, though if Spurs can use a player as a makeweight it could help in that regard. This also seems more like a move that would happen this summer as opposed to in January, or potentially a purchase/loan-back a la Jack Clarke.
Spurs’ modus operandi is to unearth young players and develop them. The links to Eze suggest this is still the case even after the appointment of Jose Mourinho. Always stay critical of transfer sources, but this would be an intriguing and potentially very good signing for the future.