Transfer rumors from the now-closed January transfer window continue to dribble out of the mists of time the farther we get from deadline day. Today, there’s a report in TeamTalk that states Tottenham Hotspur tried an audacious £27m deadline day swoop for Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic that was rejected by the Cottagers.
In some ways there’s nothing more boring than a “[Team] failed in last minute bid for [player]” story. For one, if it happened it’s curious it didn’t come to light on deadline day while under intense media scrutiny over every action the club took, and for another, it didn’t actually happen so it’s just fodder for fans to snap their fingers and say “Aw shucks.”
For this particular rumor, £27m is the amount that Fulham paid for Mitrovic (with escalators) from Newcastle when he signed permanently this past summer, meaning Newcastle would at best break even on the deal. That’s terrible business for Fulham — with the Cottagers currently in the relegation zone, he’s worth much, much more to Fulham in the context of their potential Premier League survival. If this rumor of a bid is accurate (and that’s a big if), Fulham should’ve rightfully slammed the door in Tottenham’s face.
However, there is something to be said for Spurs potentially being interested in Mitrovic going forward. The 24-year old Serbian been on excellent form this season and has scored ten Premier League goals so far. Should Fulham be relegated, and it’s looking pretty likely at this point that they will, Mitrovic would be a prime pickup for any number of Premier League clubs this summer. It’s not difficult to see Spurs trying to trade Fernando Llorente for Mitrovic, and that would be a pretty decent step up, even if the Serbian would still be very much second fiddle to Harry Kane. Spurs also have a long-standing interest in Fulham’s young academy grad Ryan Sessegnon, and it’s also not difficult to see the club going back in for him this summer.
I don’t think there was any real chance that Spurs could’ve actually purchased Mitrovic in January. I don’t find it especially difficult to believe that they might’ve made a cheeky last minute bid to test Fulham’s resolve only to have Shahid Khan laugh and hang up the phone. More interesting is the idea that Spurs could be considering trading a 33-year old Basque striker for a 24-year old Serbian in the prime of his career this summer. As good as Llorente has been the past few weeks, that’s a transfer rumor I can get behind.