In recent days, there have been rumors in the Italian media that Tottenham Hotspur were interested in Juventus’ 20-year old utility player and England U21 international Samuel Iling-Junior. Today, that news is starting to percolate out into the English media as well. Nizaar Kinsella, writing in the Evening Standard, writes that Spurs are interested in potentially bringing Iling-Junior to North London in January, and that the club is currently “leading the race” for his signature.
Iling-Junior is described as a left winger, but in truth he’s been playing mostly as a wingback at Juventus. He’s got some positional flexibility, however — he’s also been deployed as a central midfielder and even at forward. He’s coming off of a season where he made 12 appearances and three starts, with one goal and two assists. It’s a very small sample size — just 318 minutes last season — but he had a npxG+xA of just over 0.5, which isn’t too shabby for a 19 year old in Serie A.
The sense is that this season Max Allegri has opted to rely more on established and experienced players and not youngsters. Juventus would like to keep him but are willing to sell if the price is right.
Want a YouTube comp? You got it.
He’s definitely a dribbly wide player who isn’t afraid to take players on and looks like he’s got a little Udogie in him, though it’s not clear from this video how good he is defensively. That said, Spurs don’t really have a left-sided backup to Udogie apart from Ben Davies, and Iling-Junior’s positional flexibility appears to be an asset.
Kinsella notes that Tottenham are prioritizing a left-sided CB to fill in for the injured Micky van de Ven in the January transfer window, but are also keeping an eye on a number of opportunity targets should one become available and the price is too good to refuse. Iling-Junior appears to be in this latter category — not a priority target, but one they may decide to sign if they think he could be a plus add. Plus he’s English and came up through the Chelsea academy, so he’s also considered homegrown.
I don’t know enough about Iling-Junior to really say for sure whether this is a slam dunk signing, but he does look the part, at least. Spurs have a recruitment team now, and I’m inclined to trust them that they’re putting the work in to get young players that fit Ange Postecoglou’s system. If nothing else this is potentially solid depth that could develop into more. This is one to track.