Following the struggles of Georges-Kevin N’Koudou and Moussa Sissoko last season, Tottenham Hotspur is almost certainly in the market for a wide attacker this summer. And they won’t be able to do much better than Lazio star Keita Baldé, who they were linked to in The Mirror on Thursday.
Baldé is a Senegal international, but was born in Catalonia, where he played for small local teams before joining Barcelona’s youth academy. They sold him to Lazio when he was a teenager, and the now 22-year-old has had four impressive seasons in their first team. This was by far his best goal-scoring campaign yet — Baldé scored 15 goals, doubling his career total.
In addition to his goal-scoring prowess and physical gifts, Baldé is also an elite dribbler, as well as a solid passer and crosser, and he doesn’t give the ball away too often. Here, salivate over this radar from Stats Bomb’s Ted Knutson.
Keita Balde, Lazio 16-17. I think his 14-15 season was perhaps more productive, but he's been a clear talent for years. pic.twitter.com/kakNdiI9qc— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) May 3, 2017
However, as good of a signing as this would be for Spurs, it looks like it’ll be tough for them to pull off. The Mirror article states that the player prefers a move to Juventus. There’s another report that Spurs had a bid accepted by Lazio and Baldé turned down the move, but the sourcing isn’t great — Goal is aggregating Il Messaggero, and a story about Baldé turning down a move to Spurs isn’t currently on that paper’s website. We can’t tell if it’s a print-only story or if it’s fake.
Our guess is that this is a case of classic agent posturing. Juventus has other priorities at the moment, so they’re not moving quickly on Baldé. The player and his agent would like them to move it along, so they’re spreading stories that Spurs are willing to meet Lazio’s asking price and get a move done right now.
That doesn’t mean this story is totally bogus, or that a deal is impossible. Off the back of a Champions League final appearance and near-treble, Juve is an extremely attractive destination for players. They might sign a different, higher profile wide attacker, at which point Baldé would be forced to consider other offers.
If you want Spurs to sign Baldé, keep an eye on the Juventus transfer rumors. It looks like Baldé to Tottenham depends on Juve preferring another player. If the Bianconeri want Baldé, we’re not going to beat them to his signature.