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Italian report suggests possible Tanganga for Kulusevski swap

Bad source, but fun rumor!

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Here at Cartilage Free Captain we try to preach that you should be responsible and critical consumers of football media, especially during and around transfer windows. There are a ton of weird, dubious, or outright false rumors that circulate around the inter webz, and while it’s often worth reading rando transfer rumors (they’re fun!), you definitely shouldn’t believe everything you read.

The Italian media ecosystem is a just... weird. And specious. It’s often tough to tell what’s wheat from what’s chaff, but in the years prior to the rise of Gianluca DiMarzio and Fabrizio Romano it was often safe to dismiss rumors from Italian sources about English football that didn’t involve an Italian player or club. That line has gotten blurred significantly for Tottenham fans over the past year, now that they employ an Italian manager AND director of football.

So what I’m saying is that I have no idea what to do with this particular rumor — Calciomercato.it is reporting that Spurs and Juventus are working on a deal that could send Dejan Kulusevski to Spurs in exchange for a Japhet Tanganga.

Spurs do appear to have interest in the Swedish attacking midfielder — we’ve written about that previously. The Calciomercato report — and yes, Calciomercato is a pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ source, suggests that Paratici had offered a Juventus a number of different players in part exchange to lure Kulu to Spurs, including Giovani Lo Celso, but Juventus were holding out for someone younger.

Now, why Juventus might be keen in Tanganga, who has... let’s charitably say struggled at Spurs this season without a regular run of games, and not someone actually better is a bit weird. But maybe slightly less weird when you consider that his agent, Roberto de Fanti, is Italian and likely has a number of connections in Serie A. De Fanti was pushing to get Tanganga a loan last summer just after the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo, but Spurs weren’t interested at the time. It sounds as though they might be more open to it now that Conte’s in charge. Tanganga has also seemingly signaled that he’d be open to a move to Italy, even if it’s just on loan.

I honestly don’t think Tanganga’s as poor a player as what he’s shown over the past few weeks. I do think that Spurs have kind of botched his development under Mourinho, Mason, and Nuno when he could’ve been sent out to get regular playing time and experience.

Look, if this rumor was accurate I think I’d definitely consider sending Tanganga to Italy as a makeweight for Kulusevski, whom I rate highly, though that would mean Spurs would need some significant reinforcements for CB depth. I’m dubious that Tanganga would get any more match minutes at Juventus than he would at Spurs, which is to say “not much.” So I’m skeptical that this is true.

But on the other hand, agent workings are among the black arts of the footballing world, and who knows what can be accomplished with parties willing to make a deal. And if it’s a loan deal for TangGang, that’d be the best of both worlds for Spurs. Stay skeptical of this rumor, obviously. But who knows, there may be some Italian agent witchcraft going on behind the scenes.