You might have heard, but in a shocking development Tottenham Hotspur’s defense is pretty bad this season and needs reinforcement. That means, of course, that Spurs are going to be linked with every good to half-decent defender with a pulse and an expiring contract this summer. We should brace ourselves.
Here’s the latest one, and it’s... well, frankly it’s a bit exciting. According to Sky Germany, Tottenham are in “concrete talks” to sign Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng on a free transfer this summer. The 32-year old defender’s Bayern contract expires and he’s leaving on a Bosman in June, but apparently isn’t quite ready to hang up his boots yet. Boateng is also linked with a move to Dortmund, but the implication is that it is not likely due to his age and high wages, and Spurs are looking like the club most likely to secure his signature.
Age and high wages apparently doesn’t bother Tottenham! A quick Google tells me that Boateng’s existing contract at Bayern provides him with a £210k/week salary, which would put him up towards, but not at the top of, Tottenham’s wage scale. It’s a lot, obviously, but signed on a short term deal and assuming that he hasn’t completely fallen off a cliff, the lack of a transfer fee would make him a pretty decent stop-gap defender. Assuming Spurs would keep him on his existing wages, a two year contract would set them back about £22m. Compare that to the reported (and rejected) bid for Milan Skriniar this past summer, which was supposedly £30m, plus Skriniar’s wages of £95k/week and you’ve got yourself a bargain.
Of course counter argument of this is that Boateng is 32 years old. As Spurs fans, after the Mauricio Pochettino era we’re preconditioned to prefer younger players that can develop into stars as opposed to existing stars who are on the downslope of their careers. But you know what, I wouldn’t hate this idea at all. Boateng is still a hell of a defender even post 30, and while his wages are high the lack of a transfer fee would make this actually a pretty decent deal, if only for the short term. Consider that Chelsea signed Thiago Silva at age 35 this past summer for similar reasons, and he’s played 18 matches in team with a much better back line.
Tottenham are in a place thanks to COVID where they will need to be looking short term for the most bang out of their buck in the transfer market until they can get fans back in the stadiums and secure a less precarious financial position. Boateng has a reputation as one of the best defenders in world football over the course of his career, and signing talented olds on short term deals and with no transfer fee sure seems like it could help. If nothing else, Boateng could help stabilize the back line until Spurs’ younger defenders like Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga develop a bit more.
Boateng started nearly every game for Bayern this season, and it sure seems like he has more in the tank, at least for a while. It’s a transfer rumor and of course we should be skeptical considering we’re not sure who’s going to be Spurs’ manager to start next season. But Boateng would be a solid addition no matter who’s in charge. I’m all for this.