This £23.5m-rated teenager is not the finished article but here is why Tottenham can benefit from signing him

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Spurs Opinion: Agustin Almendra could be an excellent long-term investment for the Lilywhites

According to claims from Italian outlet Il Mattino, Spurs are weighing up a move for Boca Juniors starlet Agustin Almendra, who has been dubbed as the ‘new Riquelme’ in South America.

II Mattino also reports that Spurs are not the only club to be in pursuit of the talented 19-year-old, with Ligue 1 giants PSG, Portuguese giants Benfica, as well as Serie A clubs Napoli and Inter Milan also hot on trail of the Argentinian youth international.

The same source claims that Napoli have already held talks with the player’s representatives but the presence of Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs might give the Lilywhites an upper hand in this deal. Boca Juniors are willing to entertain offers of around £23.5 million to let go of their latest academy star.

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Pochettino’s pulling power in Argentinian football was instrumental in striking a deal for Juan Foyth, who made his move to north London from Estudiantes a couple of years back to join his countryman. And there is every possibility that Agustin Almendra might be the next to follow his footsteps to the Premier League.

A product of the widely revered Boca Juniors youth system, Almendra broke into the first-team last season and made 3 league appearances but he has really come of age in the current campaign. The 19-year-old has played a more prominent role in the first-team, accumulating a goal and an assist from 19 appearances for the club and carving out a reputation for himself as one of the brightest young prospects of Argentinian football.

Almendra has been capped by Argentina at U-17 and U-20 levels and currently has 5 caps for his nation at the U-20 level. Essentially a central midfielder by trade, the 19-year-old has the versatility to switch between holding and box-to-box roles in the middle of the park. However, it is his technical skills on the ball and wonderful dribbling abilities that have caught the eye.

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Noted for his tenacity, stamina and well-rounded passing attributes, Almendra is an energetic presence in the midfield, who tend to add a lot of value to the team with his youthful exuberance and ability to create spaces.

A sharp and agile midfielder, he not only covers a lot of ground and keeps things ticking with his passing and work-rate but he is also equally good at dribbling past opposition.

Furthermore, he has showcased good vision, high levels of intelligence and the speed of thought to pick out the right passes and set up attacks from a withdrawn role in the middle of the park. Not only that, Almendra is an excellent tackler, who is always willing to stick his foot out to break up the play and win possession back for his team.

The 19-year-old boasts of a pass success rate of 80.5, including 2 successful long balls, 3.7 tackles,1.5 interceptions and 1.4 dribbles per game in the Argentine top-flight this season, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded abilities as a central midfielder.

To put things into perspective, Agustin Almendra is held in high regard in Argentina and his links to so many top clubs in Europe so early in his career is a clear testament to his talent and potential. If Spurs are really serious about getting the 19-year-old on board this summer, they would need to fend off interest from at least four or five top clubs. However, they could possibly have a gem on their hands if they manage to win the race for the highly-rated teenager.

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Transforming promising youngsters into world-beaters has very much been the Spurs way of approaching things under the reign of Mauricio Pochettino. The Lilywhites are currently short of options in central midfield and they would need to fill in the void left by the departure of Mousa Dembele to China in January.

Victor Wanyama has missed large chunks of the campaign due to injuries and he has looked way off the pace and rusty even when he has been on the pitch. Eric Dier’s struggle in dealing with fast and agile opposition, as well as counter-attacking situations, have been quite apparent, while Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp, though impressive at times, are still in the developmental phase of their careers.

Moussa Sissoko has finally proven his worth at the club this term after struggling to make an impact in his first two seasons in North London. However, the potential departure of Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid or elsewhere in the summer can put Spurs in a massive hole, with the Dane having only 12 months remaining on his current contract.

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Agustin Almendra, though not a finished article by any means, would increase competition for places and add depth to the squad. And we all know how good Pochettino is when it comes to extracting the best out of youngsters.

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