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Report: Tottenham to target Ruslan Malinovskyi in January window

Spurs tried to get him in the summer. They might actually get him in January.

Atalanta BC v SSC Napoli - Serie A Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

All eyes are on the World Cup at the moment, but there’s still Tottenham Hotspur news in the wind. Specifically, transfer rumors don’t sleep even when there are other things going on in the world of football.

And this one is actually pretty exciting! Tuttomercattoweb (lol I know) has a new report out now that suggests that Tottenham are likely to go back in for Atalanta attacking midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi when the January window opens.

We wrote on Malinovskyi at the tail end of the summer window, and rather than retype everything from that original article, I’ll just copy and paste the good bits here, as not much has changed from then until now.

Malinovskyi, 29, is not only a dribbly, left footed, creative No. 10 (an area that Spurs are reportedly looking at yet this summer), he’s also a set piece specialist. He works well in a pressing side, is very good at ball progression (a pretty good npxG+xA/90 of 0.56 in about 1600 minutes of action for Atalanta last season) and is especially good at progressive passing from deep positions. He’s also got a rocket of a left boot.

His contract expires at the end of the summer, and Atalanta is reportedly willing to sell him in January so they can get at least a little money for him. According to Tuttomercatoweb, both Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici have “a full harmony of views” to bring him in as a key backup. Thanks, Google Translate!

No negotiations are underway and they aren’t likely to start until closer to the window, but at least according to rando Italian sources he’s high on Paratici’s list. Malinovskyi isn’t a direct Dejan Kulusevski analogue — he tends to play more centrally or drift in from wide positions. But he’s a somewhat Deki-like substance, or at least to the extend that he could provide a different kind of creativity to what Kulusevski offers. He’s not young — he turns 30 in May — and isn’t a lock-down starter (or even a right wing back!) but he’d be key depth and the idea is that hopefully Conte would trust him more than the other options he has at his disposal.

I know, weird Italian transfer rumor, but there’s some smoke in the air about this one, especially after last summer. And I wouldn’t hate it! Let’s see where this goes.