Ask any Tottenham Hotspur fan what the club’s first priority in the summer transfer window should be and... okay, most of them are going to say “a top quality GK.” Fair. But the NEXT thing they’ll say is a solid LCB to refresh and improve the back line.
And that’s what this rumor is about. Several reports, including German publication BILD and “transfer specialist” Fabrizio Romano are reporting that Spurs are looking at Bayer Leverkusen and Burkina Faso defender Edmond Tapsoba as one of their key targets in the window.
Understand Tottenham have started concrete contacts to be informed on Edmond Tapsoba as new CB. ⚪️ #THFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 21, 2023
He’s on the list since long time — and Spurs are now exploring conditions of the deal on both player and Bayer 04 side.
Nothing advanced yet — Tapsoba, keen on the move. pic.twitter.com/S2nbKKqNTi
Tapsoba’s been a known target for a while now — I’ve had him on my transfer spreadsheet since at least April, and this isn’t the first time that Romano has mentioned him in connection to Tottenham. And there’s good reason for that! The 24 year old Burkina Faso international has been a regular for Leverkusen this season and is the definition of a ball-playing central defender who is comfortable with the ball at his feet.
He was mostly deployed as a left-sided CB in a back four, but also occasionally as either a LCB or RCB in a back three, and that versatility could pay benefits if he comes to Spurs. His passing statistics jump out at you but at Leverkusen he’s mostly been the defender who sits deeper and recycles the ball in comparison to his more well-known and progressive partner, Piero Hincapié. He’s more likely to pass short to teammates’ feet than hoof the ball long, which would be an asset in a Ange Postecoglou side that wants to play out of the back and get the ball forward quickly. But Tapsoba also loves to switch the ball to the other side of the pitch if there are players in space there. Considering Postecoglou likes to overload one side of the pitch to create space you can see how that might pay dividends.
Tapsoba is also fast and has good positioning for a tallish defender — he doesn’t tackle much but is able to use his awareness to snuff out chances before they happen. And the fact that he’s so comfortable playing beside Hincapié (who has also been linked to Tottenham) should be comforting to Spurs fans as well, because Hincapié profiles pretty close to Cuti Romero — both are aggressive defenders, and Tapsoba is an excellent complement to that skillset.
Spurs clearly have a number of CB targets that they’re looking at this summer, including Clement Lenglet, who is seventh on FBRef’s list of similar players to Tapsoba. But I think Tapsoba is better. I doubt he’d be cheaper — there are spurious reports that he could cost around £60m — but he’d definitely be an upgrade. I’m happy to see this link and think he could be a real asset to Spurs under Postecoglou next season.