A while ago we brought you the exciting news that Tottenham Hotspur was in active negotiations to sign exciting 18-year-old Club Brugge attacker and all-around dribbly boi Antonio Nusa. And then... radio silence. No real concrete news escaped Bat Country, just endless reports that the teams were still in talks. The past few days, there hasn’t even been that much.
Well, it sounds like there’s a reason for that. Today there’s a bombshell report by David Ornstein in The Athletic that Club Brugge had reached an agreement to sell Nusa for more than €30m... with Brentford.
Brentford have reached an agreement with Club Bruges to sign winger Antonio Nusa.— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) January 28, 2024
More from @David_Ornstein ⬇️
Ornstein’s report isn’t long — it states that both Brentford and Newcastle were interested in Nusa (along with Spurs), but that Nusa was impressed with Brentford’s development plan for him in the short term and that joining Brentford is his choice. There are no indications, yet, whether the deal would send Nusa back to Brugge for the rest of the season or if he’d join Brentford right away. Alasdair Gold is also stating Nusa chose Brentford because they offered him a ton of first team football, something that Spurs couldn’t necessarily promise him next season as a young player still developing.
Understand Antonio Nusa chose Brentford because he was guaranteed regular starts there. Spurs held talks but for a raw but talented teenager not starting regularly for Club Brugge yet, they couldn't offer such guarantees for next season with their current squad. (Contd)— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) January 28, 2024
My guess is that Brugge was in talks with Spurs, but the radio silence lately is explained by Brugge attempting to open up Nusa’s recruitment to get a better deal. Moving to a club like Brentford also suggests that Nusa might think of this as an intermediate step between Brugge and joining a really big club at the very top of the game.
But wait — this is where it gets weird. Here’s a tweet from Belgian journalist Tomaz Taecke, who initially broke the story of Tottenham’s interest in Nusa.
Het Engelse #BrentfordFC mengt zich in de strijd om Nusa. Aanbieding voorlopig ontoereikend en lager dan wat vooral #THFC wil neerleggen - een bedrag dat intussen richting de 35 miljoen euro gaat. Ook #NUFC wordt stilaan concreet voor de Noor @hlnsport @ClubBrugge ⏳— Tomas Taecke (@tomaztaecke) January 28, 2024
The English #BrentfordFC joins the battle for Nusa. The offer is currently insufficient and lower than what #THFC in particular wants to pay - an amount that is now approaching 35 million euros. Also #NUFC is gradually becoming concrete for the Norwegian
So I’m a little confused by this tweet — it’s not precisely clear whether the “insufficient” offer Taecke is referencing is the one made by Brentford and Spurs were offering more, or if the skin now in the game is simply too rich for Tottenham’s blood. If it’s the latter, then as Spurs fans we should trust Johan Lange and his new recruitment team — they have a pretty good track record so far, and have shown several times now that they’re able to successfully pivot to other options when priced out of their primary target (remember Micky van de Ven?).
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this isn’t a surprising bit of news to wake up to, or that it isn’t disappointing. It is. Nusa’s a super exciting talent who appears to be a perfect fit for Ange Postecoglou’s tactics, even if he needs time to finish cooking. And as you process this news and want to think about who Tottenham’s pivot player might be, well, have a look at this: Juventus’ Matias Soulé has a similar profile to Nusa, wants to stay in Europe, and might only cost €30m. Don Fabio, get on the phone.
Matias Soulé has informed Al Ittihad that he’s rejecting their proposal.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 28, 2024
€30m to Juventus, huge salary to the player to move to Saudi… but Soulé said no.
Soulé wants to stay in Europe, continue his career plan, best way also for his dream of Argentina’s call. pic.twitter.com/KeReNGSrX9