£69m release clause: Spurs made contact to make major defensive signing; Mourinho involved

Europa Conference League – Final – AS Roma v Feyenoord

Tottenham Hotspur made multiple enquiries to sign AS Roma defender Roger Ibanez over the summer, according to reports.

The Lowdown: Conte’s defender search

The Brazilian has recently cemented himself a starting place under Jose Mourinho, and after a string of impressive performances, appears to have caught the eye of a couple of Premier League suitors, despite having three years left on his contract.

Antonio Conte was on the hunt for a new centre-back in the summer and ended up landing the services of Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet on a season-long loan, though it sounds like the Serie A star was identified as a serious target before his arrival.

The Latest: Spurs’ Ibanez enquiries

According to Roma Giallorossa (via Sport Witness), Tottenham, alongside Newcastle United, were both ‘interested’ in a deal for Ibanez, with Fabio Paratici having ‘considered’ the signing.

It’s reported that the Italian giants placed a €80m (£69m) release clause on the player following advice from Mourinho, who had ‘the knowledge that interest would come from the Premier League’.

The Lilywhites are said to have made ‘more than one enquiry’ for the player, but the fee required ‘drove them away’.

The Verdict: Correct decision

Ibanez is a 6 foot 1 physical threat who provides dominance in both boxes, having been dubbed a ‘danger’ in front of goal by sports journalist Josh Bunting, racking up seven goals already in his short career. However, Spurs made the right decision by not pursuing this deal any further.

Conte is clearly very fond of his first-choice back three of Eric Dier, Cristian Romero and Lenglet while Davinson Sánchez has been much improved in 2022, so there would be no point cashing out almost £70m for someone who’d be no more than a bench warmer.

With Lenglet’s deal being a loan, there’s next to no risk if the season ahead doesn’t go as hoped for him on an individual basis, which proves a much safer option than going all in on a player who wouldn’t necessarily perform to the standard required.

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