Tottenham Hotspur was linked to a LOT of players last summer thanks to Managing Director of Football Fabio Paratici’s “scattergun” approach to transfers. That’s not a bad thing! It certainly kept all of us busy as we were trying to navigate an especially eventful couple of months.
One of the lesser-known players linked with Spurs during the month of June is 21-year old Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. You might recognize the name, if only because it’s a fairly unusual one — Kvaratskhelia made international football news this week after his club team, Rubin Kazan of the Russian Premier League, terminated his contract along with other international players in the RPL due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, allowing Kvaratskhelia to immediately sign with another club. As of today, it appears he’s done so, signing a contract with Georgian league side Dinamo Batumi (who will almost assuredly flip him for a profit this summer).
| Both Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Zuriko Davitashvili will officially join Dinamo Batumi after the international break!— Georgian Footy (@GeorgianFooty) March 23, 2022
Both of the players will take part in Batumi’s #UCL qualifying adventures in summer.
Champions bound in June?
Confirmed by @Geo__team https://t.co/4bv1rIa4qg pic.twitter.com/xCnF2SwNat
That’s certainly good news for Khvicha, who will continue to play football despite the current geopolitical instability. But there’s more! Gazzetta dello Sport also has an article on Kvaratskhelia today, suggesting that he could be had this summer for around €15m, (eye-rollingly) referring to him as a “new Insigne” and reiterating Tottenham’s past and current interest in him as a transfer target. There are also quotes from Rubin Kazan’s manager saying that he’d be an excellent signing for team in a major European league.
FBRef doesn’t have the fancy stats on Kvaratskhelia because they don’t track the Russian Premier League in the same way they do the major European leagues, but there are some indicators — Kvaratskhelia has 9 goals and 10 assists in 69 league matches for Rubin over three years. Those are intriguing numbers considering Kvaratskhelia is still only 21 years old.
And his international performances with Georgia are even more intriguing. In 750 international minutes, Kvaratskhelia is averaging 5.3 successful dribbles/90, plus 3.5 T+I/90, and four goals, all of them coming in the current World Cup qualifying cycle. Gazzetta suggests that he’s been deployed as a left sided defensive winger for Rubin and for Georgia, and the stats seem to bear that out. In short, he’s a young, speedy dribble monster who is raising eyebrows all over Europe at the moment.
Now, we know that “defensive winger” is a position that doesn’t really exist under Antonio Conte, but it also seems as though he can and has played more centrally in a 3-4-2-1, which could suggest a rotation option for Son Heung-Min. But also, he’s two-footed and comfortable on either flank. I know that Conte turning pacy into attack-minded wingbacks is almost a trope by now but... I mean?
The links between Tottenham and Kvaratskhelia are pretty tenuous at best. Gazzetta notes that Tottenham was taking a look at him last summer along with Leeds, but the strongest link in the article is with Napoli, which suggests Kvaratskhelia is directly in their price range and fits a position of need. Georgia isn’t exactly a hotbed of footballing talent and the transition from the RPL to the Premier League (much less from the Georgian league) would be pretty significant. Honestly, who knows if he’s still considered a target for Spurs and Paratici.
That said, if Gazzetta’s valuation of €15m is anywhere close to accurate, that makes him a very interesting prospect as a summer sleeper signing. We know Tottenham is going to be very busy this summer, that they’re trying to turn over the current squad, and that Paratici had shown an interest in tracking Kvaratskhelia this past summer. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and he’s not a slam-dunk. Leeds was also mentioned as being interested in him this past summer, and you can certainly see a situation where a smaller club might be willing to take a chance on a player like him, and also give him more opportunities.
Even so, the price is very right for what looks like an exciting young player with a ton of upside. Spurs should ALWAYS be looking to invest in a few players like that, even if they don’t ultimately work out. Consider me officially Khvicha Kvaratskhelia curious, and not just because I’m dying to listen to Greg try and pronounce his name on Wheeler Dealer Radio.