With the uncertainty surrounding this summer’s transfer window — we don’t even know if we’ll have one, much less when it’ll take place and how much money clubs will have to spend — all transfer rumors should be taken with a huge grain of salt. That’s obvious. The other thing we can probably assume is that players who are heading towards free agency are going to attract more attention than usual.
Thomas Meunier is one of those players. The 28-year old PSG right back is out of contract in June and is almost certainly leaving PSG unless the French champions do an abrupt about-face and offer him a new contract in the next little while. Meunier has been on Tottenham’s radar for years now, since before Spurs signed Serge Aurier, but he’s been the subject of a lot of attention this spring from Jose Mourinho.
ESPN’s Julien Laurens is reporting now that Mourinho has personally called the Belgian international to try and convince him to continue his career in London, rather than head to Dortmund, his other major suitor with whom Meunier has reportedly agreed terms. However, there’s a problem: Spurs chairman Daniel Levy may not like it.
The Spurs boss had a long chat with the Belgium international, sources have told ESPN, and the defender was flattered by his call. Mourinho also told Meunier he would have to convince Tottenham chairman Levy to sign the 28-year-old, with the Spurs chief looking to bring down the average age of the squad.
— Julien Laurens, ESPN
Say what you want about Levy, but his obsession in recent years on making — and keeping — Spurs younger has been one of his better qualities, a mission that peaked under Mauricio Pochettino between 2015-17. Meunier is certainly not a young up-and-comer — he’s an established professional and international footballer with 40 caps for Belgium, and would provide instant competition for Aurier for the starting right back position next season.
But while Meunier isn’t young, he most certainly is free and that might trump Levy’s natural instincts to keep trending younger, at least in the short term. Spurs need depth in key positions badly, and fullback is one of those areas. With younger players like Max Aarons likely to cost a lot of money to pry away from even relegation-fodder clubs, bringing in a solid, experienced professional on a Bosman sure does have its appeal.
Not to mention that the COVID-19 crisis means nobody has any idea how much money clubs will have to spend or even what the market looks like. Players may be cheaper and easier to get, or they could be much harder to get. But free is free. Now, a lot of it might come down to what kind of a contract Spurs would offer — a five-year contract for a 28-year old player would be a little more ummmmmmmm than a 2-3 year deal, for example.
It does sound like Dortmund have the upper hand in landing Meunier at the moment, if Laurens is correct, but every player has his price, and Mourinho is certainly charming and a manager who can convince players to play for him. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose down at a Belgian international fullback for zero transfer free, at least as an interim option.