The dust has barely settled on yesterday’s appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo as Tottenham Hotspur’s new head coach and already the transfer floodgates are starting to open. Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic is a name that has been hovering in the background of transfer speculation for a while, but until recently there hasn’t been much to go on. That may be changing.
According to Football.London, the 21-year old striker, who scored 21 goals (15 npg) for La Viola last season, is high on the list of targets for new Managing Football Director Fabio Paratici, and the club have “opened talks” for the player, who is rated at £36m.
Vlahovic, a Serbian international, is 6’2”, officially in Big Lad™ territory but what’s interesting is that despite his height he doesn’t really play much like the target man you’d expect from someone his size. In fact, in highlight videos he looks fairly dribbly and hits the ball HARD. His stats as they appear on FBref don’t look especially gaudy, but they are pretty good for a young player who only really made a breakthrough in Serie A this past season. 15 non-penalty goals for a Fiorentina squad that, frankly, didn’t have a particularly great offense is great, and you can start to see why Paratici and Tottenham might have an interest in him.
It does bring up the question though of what Spurs are thinking about here — £36m isn’t cheap, especially in this COVID-affected financial climate. Does Paratici view Vlahovic as a backup/rotation option for Harry Kane, maybe kinda similar to the way that they used Carlos Vinicius last season, or is this an example of Spurs potentially pre-spending the money from a Kane sale? It’s a good question — Vlahovic is the kind of emerging player who needs minutes if he’s going to get better. He’d still be a very clear downgrade from Kane should he depart, but who wouldn’t be? And if you want to hang your hat on something, last year Stefan Jovetic compared him with Erling Haaland when Vlahovic was linked with a move to Juventus.
“I am not surprised a top club like Juventus wants Vlahovic, he has pace, strength and an eye for the goal. He will be the best striker of the next few years with Erling Haaland. So potentially, he is ready for Juventus.”
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, this is a report not from Alasdair Gold but from Football.London’s rumor guy Jake Stokes. I have no doubts that Vlahovic is of interest to Tottenham, but the phrase “opened talks” is doing a lot of work here. The report does point out that an approach for Vlahovic already has the blessing of Nuno, which seems quick, but hey. What do I know?
Regardless of what happens to Kane, Spurs do need another striker with Vinicius returning to Benfica. Vlahovic is young, strong, and probably not super expensive. Seems like the kind of guy we should be looking at, right?