Tottenham Hotspur need a right back. Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne is a right back, and he’s making all kinds of noises right now as though he wouldn’t mind wearing lilywhite next season.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Castagne, 24, has been an integral part of the surprising Atalanta side that this season made the Champions League quarterfinals and is in fourth place with a bullet in Serie A. A wingback, he’s played on both flanks over the course of the season in an attacking 3-4-3 formation, which has made him a useful utility player for Atalanta. His production isn’t staggering, but he’s putting up pretty good numbers this season — 0.28 xG+xA/90, which is pretty decent!
More importantly, he enters the final year of his contract this summer, and it’s said Atalanta may be willing to cash in on him. Castagne certainly seems like he’s willing to consider making a move, and in in recent comments given to Belgian paper La Derniere Heure, he name-dropped Tottenham specifically. The original article is behind a paywall, but Sport Italia has the important quotes.
“I think the time has come to move on, but I won’t be disappointed if I stay in Bergamo. I’m very proud of this. It’s proof that hard work pays off. I hope it’s more than just simple interest from them.
“I was especially a fan [of Arsenal] when Thierry Henry played for them. Now I’m not so much. You have to be honest with yourself. When a team like PSG or Tottenham come knocking on your door, you can hardly refuse.”
Castagne isn’t a flashy player, or one that in most years would generate a ton of excitement. He was described by people who know a lot more about football than me as “bang average” — solid, dependable, a good player. But the important thing he’d most likely be is cheap: Atalanta apparently needs funds this summer and with COVID plus a player who looks like he’d like to leave there’s a chance that a deal could be made.
And honestly, there are much worse things than “solid and dependable.” Castagne is used to playing in a system with attacking wingbacks under manager Gian Piero Gasperini, and Atalanta have been super fun to watch the past couple of seasons. That position has meant he’s needed to cover a ton of ground both offensively and defensively this season — he’s averaging 3 T+I/90 this year in addition to his offensive stats.
An athletic, two-way fullback who knows how to defend is a plus in a Mourinho-coached system, and currently we have one of those... if you superglue Ben Davies and Serge Aurer together. I’d be quite happy with a right back who still has room to develop and who can go out and do a shift. His ability to play either on the right or the left is also a distinct advantage. Some googling revealed that he’s currently on ~£36k/wk. in wages, which is pretty darned cheap, meaning Spurs could probably afford to give him a good bump in salary as well.
Castagne’s comments make it sound like there’s concrete interest from Spurs for his services, especially after they whiffed on Thomas Meunier. And if they can get him for a decent price, so much the better. There’s still that pesky PSG that’s hanging around there, though — Spurs can hardly afford to get into a bidding war for Castagne, but maybe they can swoop while the iron is hot. Watch this space.