One of the brighter spots to this season for Tottenham Hotspur has been the surprise emergence of academy defender Japhet Tanganga. A central defender in the youth ranks, he was given a chance in Spurs’ first team at fullback and center back, making 11 first team appearances and tallying almost 1000 minutes of action in all competitions before the shut down. Not bad for a young man who doesn’t turn 21 until the end of the month.
There have been murmurs recently that Spurs have been trying to lock Japhet down to a new contract, and now Football Insider is claiming an inside source (of course) stating that a deal is close. Apparently Tanganga rejected an initial offer for a new contract at the end of 2019, but negotiations continued and Japhet was eager to stay at Tottenham and try to establish himself as a permanent member of the back line.
Tanganga’s initial contract expired at the end of this season, but the club exercised a clause to extend his deal through the end of 2021, a Daniel Levy special that has appeared in a number of Spurs contracts in the past few years.
Tanganga looked promising in his early appearances but has struggled at times with his decisionmaking and positioning, along with the rest of Tottenham’s defense. That’s not necessarily a knock against him — young defenders like him tend to make mistakes, that’s how they get better. Japhet has good defensive instincts and could learn a lot by playing more minutes alongside an established defender like Toby Alderweireld — think along the lines of a young Michael Dawson playing beside Ledley King.
Obviously it’s not a done deal and you can imagine that contract talks are probably at a standstill along with the rest of football, but if this report is true it would be a promising sign that Spurs are continuing to work towards a rebuild with younger talent, and also around the best talents from the academy.