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Report: Tottenham closing in on Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram

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Talks between Spurs and Thuram have apparently progressed in recent days.

Borussia Moenchengladbach v DSC Arminia Bielefeld - Bundesliga Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images

Ahead of the 2020 Euros, many clubs have started their summer plans, in terms of transfers in and out of the club. In Tottenham Hotspur’s case, it was thought that perhaps that would be put off until after the managerial search concludes. However, with Fabio Paratici seemingly in place, it appears there may be news regarding Spurs’ first potential transfer for this summer — Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram.

With two years left on his current deal, Thuram may not be the cheapest player and will require a bit of funds. However, with Borussia Mönchengladbach missing out on competing in European play in the 2021-22 season, the time may be now for the club known as ‘Die Fohlen’ to cash in some of their prized assets.

Thuram came over to Mönchengladbach prior to the 2019-20 season from Guingamp in France. In two seasons in Germany, Thuram found the net 25 times across all competitions. He mainly played in a strike-partnership alongside Frenchman Alassane Pléa. When Mönchengladbach opted for a different approach, it was typically Thuram who gave way and played a bit more out wide, most almost always on the left flank.

Playing up top next to Pléa, the two provided a unique partnership, in large part due to Thuram’s power and strength as well as Pléa’s creativity and flair. Despite his sheer athletic ability, Thuram was not asked to play with his back towards net often. He is extremely successful in the air as indicated by the below graph from FBref’s player profile.

https://fbref.com/en/players/6f8cd6d0/Marcus-Thuram
Graphic: FBref.com

Due to this powerful frame and athleticism, Thuram was given license to dribble and take on defenders. He can draw a lot of fouls and has potential to be a good hold-up player, something, as mentioned above, he was not often asked to do. He shows good vision on the field, knowing how to open up defenses and provide pockets of space for his teammates to attack and move progressively up the field. Last season gave Thuram the ability to play Champions League football, but with coach Marco Rose darting for Dortmund, it appears that Thuram could be on the move next.

If Thuram were to be brought in, it begs the question what would happen to club hero and talisman Harry Kane. Should the soon-to-be 28-year-old leave with three years left on his deal, Tottenham would obviously recoup a ton of financial capital or at least a few talented players plus some money in return.

Of course, asking Thuram to replace the goal-contributions of Kane would not be feasible, but it perhaps depicts a type of system-change Spurs could look into this season. Asking Thuram to be on his own up top in his first Premier League season in a traditional number nine role may be asking a lot. However, perhaps the duo of Son Heung-min and Thuram in a strike-partnership could be similar to what the Frenchman played with at Mönchengladbach. Like Pléa, Son has the craft and ability in both feet to do special things while also providing goals.

Connecting some dots here, it is known that Antonio Conte takes pride in his 3-5-2 system that shape-shifts when in defense. The Conte talks may have broken down, but if Spurs do re-consider, this move would certainly appease Conte who could see Thuram operating in a role similar to his usage of Romelu Lukaku.

Additionally, with this news coming out relatively early in the summer, perhaps the writing is on the wall that Kane really could leave this summer. Spurs making this move could be a way of assurance that they do have somewhat of a fallback plan.

Obviously the move is not official yet, but it is interesting that Spurs seem to be making movement on a player acquisition without a manager in place and that Thuram might be a good fit for their plans. If the report is accurate, it points to Daniel Levy and the board giving full freedom and responsibilities to Paratici to envision the team he will be in charge of for the upcoming season.

This is an ongoing storyline and we will continue to follow up on it throughout the next couple of days and weeks.